Doctors Who Treat COPD
is a chronic disease that makes it difficult for you to breathe. It’s important
to diagnose the disease early. If treatment is started early, you may be able
to slow the worsening of symptoms.
Primary Care Physician
If you’re experiencing any of the
symptoms of COPD, or if you have a family history of COPD, you should make an
appointment with your primary care physician. They will play a major role in the
diagnosis and management of COPD.
If your doctor determines that
you do in fact have COPD, they will most likely prescribe medication to help
control your symptoms. They will advise you on other treatments and lifestyle
changes as well.
Your doctor may also refer you to
may refer you to a pulmonologist. A pulmonologist is a physician who
specializes in conditions of the lungs and respiratory tract. Pulmonologists
complete an additional two or three years of medical training in the
prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lung and respiratory problems. A
pulmonologist treats COPD as well as other serious respiratory conditions such
as asthma, pneumonia, and emphysema.
therapist (RT) is a trained healthcare professional who works with patients who
have heart and lung problems. An RT may guide you through breathing treatments
and exercises to help you breathe better.
Visiting the Doctor
the most of your visit with the doctor, it’s helpful to take along some
information that will be needed to make an accurate diagnosis. Finding the
information ahead of time will help you give the right answers when your doctor
helpful to have a list of questions you would like to ask the doctor. Having
them written down in advance assures that you won’t forget anything important
you want to ask. It’s a good idea to put your questions in order of importance
with the most important first. That way, if you run out of time, you will have
asked the ones that matter most.
Information to Bring to Your Appointment
doctor will want to know the following:
- What symptoms you’re having
- When your symptoms started
- What makes you feel better
- What makes you feel worse
- If anyone in your family has COPD
- If you’re being treated for any other medical conditions
- What medications do you take and in what amounts
- If you’ve ever taken beta blockers
Questions Your Doctor Will Ask
addition to the above information, you can expect your doctor to ask a number
- Do you smoke?
- Have you ever smoked?
- Are you regularly exposed to secondhand smoke?
- Do you work around dust or other pollutants?
- Do you cough up mucus?
- If so, what color is it?
- Do you get short of breath easily?
- How long has this been going on?
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
The following are suggested questions you
might want to ask. You should add your own to the list.
- Do I have COPD?
- Do I have emphysema or bronchitis or both?
- What treatment do you suggest?
- Will I need to take medications for the rest of my life?
- Will I get better?
- What else can I do to feel better?
Coping, Support, and Resources
depression, stress, and fear are common with COPD. These tend to increase as
the disease gets worse. It can be very helpful to talk about how you feel.
Share your concerns with your healthcare team, as well as with your family and
want to join a support group. It can help to see how other people are coping
with the same condition. If you feel overwhelmed or very depressed,
professional counseling might help. Your doctor can refer you to local support
groups and counselors. They may also prescribe medication to help you cope.
find additional information and support from the following organizations:
- American Lung Association
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
- COPD Foundation