8 Questions Doctors May Ask If You Continue Having Flare-ups
So, you have COPD. You’ve been seeing a doctor. You and your doctor developed a COPD Action Plan. You have certain medicines you have on hand. You may have some you take every day. But, you continue to have flare-ups. Now what?
Here are 8 things your doctor may consider:
- Are you sticking to the plan? So, you and your doctor developed a plan. Are you sticking to it? It’s definitely not easy to do. Are you avoiding your COPD triggers? Are you taking your medicine as prescribed? When you have flare-ups, are you looking at your plan to help you decide what actions to take? If you’re normal like most people are normal, it’s easy to forget. It’s easy to forget about your plan. And, if this is the case, it’s your doctor’s job to find out. It’s your doctor’s job to remind you of the importance of sticking to the plan.
- Are you using proper inhaler technique? Hey, 90% of asthmatics use poor inhaler technique, according to one study. This even includes experts like me. It even includes respiratory therapists. It even includes life-long lungers like me. So, your doctor may have you demonstrate how you use your inhalers. Chances are, you are doing something wrong. A simple tweak here or a simple tweak there may be all that’s needed to getting you back on your feet.
- Are you being compliant with your medication regimen? If you’re like me, sometimes you forget. If you’re like me, sometimes you skip doses. It’s definitely not a good thing because it can cause your lung disease to get worse. In order for your controller medicines to work, you have to use them every day. This is easier said than done. But, if you do forget, your doctor may have an idea to help you remember. Or, perhaps you don’t take them on purpose. In this case, your doctor may want to educate you about the benefits of taking a certain medicine.
- Are you not taking due to side effects? Perhaps your doctor can prescribe a medicine to make the side effects go away. Perhaps your doctor may have to allay your fear by showing you how the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.
- Are you avoiding your COPD triggers? This may be the hardest thing for anyone with allergies, asthma, or COPD to do. It’s hard to learn what triggers your COPD. It’s even harder to avoid them even if you know what they are. For example, say pollen is a trigger for you. Like, how do you avoid pollen? It’s certainly not easy. Perhaps there’s mold in your home. If you have standing water, it’s easy for mold to grow on your walls and you not even know it. So, there are so many things to consider here.
- Did you get your vaccines? There’s a lot for you to do. Sometimes we forget. Sometimes our doctors and nurses forget to remind us. There are many reasons people don’t get their vaccines. But, they can help prevent you from getting pneumonia or influenza. Both of these, if you get them, can cause flare-ups. So, it’s best to prevent them by getting your vaccines.
- Do you have a COPD co-morbidity? This is a question your doctor may not directly ask you. But, it’s one he/she may investigate. Is something other than COPD causing your symptoms? Your doctor may have you undergo some testing to see if it’s something else. A simple EKG and X-ray may help diagnose you. If it’s something else, a proper diagnosis can go a long way to helping you get better. A proper diagnosis can assure you get the treatment you need to overcome this other condition.
- Is there a need to step up your treatment? This is another question your doctor may not ask you directly. But, it’s a question that may need to be asked at some point. So, all other things have been considered. You are doing everything right. You just continue to have symptoms. You continue to have flare-ups. So, the next logical step is to step up your treatment. Your doctor may have you fill out a questionnaire such as the ones mentioned in my post, “What Is The ABCD Assessment Tool?” Perhaps you moved from category A to category B. In this case, your doctor may consider prescribing a new medicine for you to try. This may be the trick to helping you obtain better control of your COPD. This may be what’s needed to help you breathe easier every day.
So, there are many things your a doctor can do help you feel better. There may be more than the 8 listed here. Your doctor may have other ideas. This is why it’s so important to keep in touch with your doctor. A simple tweak here or a tweak there may be all that’s needed to help you in your quest to live better and live longer with COPD.