The treatment of asthma is most successful when there is a strong -- and fairly equal -- partnership between doctor and patient. I first wrote about teaming up with your doctor here, and I also suggested in another post that Knowing Your Doctor's Asthma "IQ" could be helpful.
But what do you do if you started to realize that you and your current doctor are NOT working well together?
Here's the thing about asthma... even though it IS a chronic condition and there is no cure, it CAN be controlled. Most people who have asthma should be able to live a life without limits and with very few regular symptoms. But judging from what I read here on MyAsthmaCentral, that is not the case for a lot of people.
So why is that? Well, I believe it may be because the doctor-patient partnership has broken down. Sometimes patients are shy about speaking up for themselves and sometimes they aren't completely honest with the doctor about what they are -- or aren't -- doing.
But other times, it's the doctor who contributes to the disconnect that leads to poor asthma control. At any rate, the result is a breakdown in communication and an unhappy and probably unhealthy patient.
Signals You May Want to Seek Out a New Doctor
First off, your doctor should be knowledgeable about asthma and up to date on the latest treatment and research. Since asthma is so common these days, many family doctors, internists and pediatricians do stay informed about asthma, but if yours isn't, then it might be time to at least get a consultation with an asthma specialist.
Second, you should always see a doctor who is on the same wavelength as you, as much as possible, about how to manage your health. If you're the kind of person who prefers to avoid medication as much as you can, in favor of "more natural" approaches, then you might do better with a holistic physician, or perhaps a younger one who might have been more schooled in such alternative therapies.
You also want a doctor who really listens to you and who values your input on how you're feeling and how you'd like to manage your asthma. If your doctor is more "old school" and expects you to just take his or her word for things and follow orders, then you may never be satisfied with your asthma care.
Asthma treatment is changing all the time. It's taken on epidemic proportions, so new research is constantly emerging. Your asthma doctor should be committed to keeping up with these changes, especially if your asthma has been hard to bring under control, and should be open to trying new things until you find a plan that works.
Your asthma doctor needs to be available and accessible. Asthma is a lifelong condition for most of us and will have periodic flares and emergencies for many. You need to know that your doctor will be reachable within a reasonable amount of time when necessary.
So... Is It Time for You to Make a Change?
Now that you've read through my post, what do you think? Might you benefit from a change in doctor? If so, then be proactive and get working on it! Find out what other doctors might be available in your area and that participate in your insurance plan, if you have one.