Talking to Your Doctor About Asthma
Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
You have your own health history. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with asthma. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
Tips for Getting Information
Here are some tips that will make it simpler for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to provide more details to the doctor.
- Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for help if you need it.
- Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
- Think about keeping a diary of your symptoms, triggers, and a list of your medicines. Share this with your doctor at every visit.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
About Your Risk of Getting Asthma
- Does my health history, family background, or lifestyle put me at risk?
- How can I lower my risk of asthma or asthma attacks?
About Treatment Options
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What should I do if I have an asthma attack?
What medicines are best for me?
- What are the benefits/side effects?
- Will these medicines interact with the other medicines, over the counter products, dietary, or herbal supplements that I already take?
- What is the best way to take them?
- How do I use these medicines correctly?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Is it safe to exercise?
- Are there some exercises that are safer than others?
- Are there any foods that I should not eat?
- Can I drink alcohol?
- I'm a smoker. Where can I find help for quitting?
- Do I need to avoid pregnancy because of my medicines?
- If I become pregnant, should I stop or limit my medicine. Also, are there ways I can lower my child's risk of asthma?
- Is there something in my home or work that may cause asthma?
If so, what can I do about it?
- How can I change my environment to reduce asthma attacks?
- How will asthma affect my life?
- Will I have asthma all my life?
- Will my asthma get better or worse?
- Will asthma shorten my life?
- Will my children have asthma?
Acute asthma exacerbation in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated August 22, 2018. Accessed October 22, 2019.
Asthma exacerbation in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated January 29, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2019.
Asthma in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
. Updated October 11, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2019.
Chronic asthma in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated September 27, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2019.
Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) global strategy for asthma management and prevention. GINA 2018.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 8/25/2019