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Talking to Your Doctor About Asthma

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with asthma. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
  • Consider keeping a diary of your symptoms, asthma triggers, and a schedule of your medications. Share this with your doctor during every visit.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

About Your Risk of Developing Asthma

  • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for asthma?
  • How can I decrease my risk of asthma or asthma attacks?

About Treatment Options

  • What is the best treatment for me?
  • What should I do if I am having an asthma attack?
  • What medications are best suited for my asthma condition?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, dietary, or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
    • What is the best way to take them?
    • If you are already being treated: Am I using my medication correctly?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Is it safe to exercise?
  • Are there certain exercises that are safer than others?
  • Are there any foods that I should avoid?
  • Should I avoid alcohol?
  • I'm a smoker. Where can I find help for quitting?
  • Do I need to avoid pregnancy because of my medications?
  • If I become pregnant, should I stop or restrict intake of asthma medication and are there ways I can reduced my child's risk of asthma?
  • Is there something in my home and/or work environment that may cause asthma? If so, what can I do about it?
  • How can I modify my environment to reduce asthma attacks?

About Outlook

  • How will asthma affect my activities?
  • Will I continue to have asthma for the next several years?
  • Will I have asthma all my life?
  • Will the severity of the asthma change?
  • Will asthma shorten my life expectancy?
  • Will my children have asthma?
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References:

Asthma exacerbation in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated January 13, 2017. Accessed September 8, 2017.
Asthma exacerbation in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated January 5, 2017. Accessed September 8, 2017.
Asthma in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 22, 2017. Accessed September 8, 2017.
Asthma in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T500326/Asthma-in-children. Updated April 6, 2017. Accessed September 8, 2017.
Questions to ask your doctor about asthma. American Lung Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed September 8, 2017.
Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor. Updated May 2014. Accessed September 8, 2017.
12/12/2012 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Wood LG, Garg ML, Smart JM, et al. Manipulating antioxidant intake in asthma: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(3):534-543.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 8/11/2015

 

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