Questions to Ask Your Doctor About COPD

Sue Byrne | Oct 18th 2017

1 of 11
To get the most benefit from treatment, you may want to keep a diary devoted to COPD and bring it with you to discuss with your doctor. This diary should list:
  1. 0 Your medications and dosages
  2. 0 Exacerbations
  3. 0 Daily nutrition and exercise information
  4. 0 1. and 2.
  5. 1 All of the above
YOUR SCORE
0
0

You are correct! You are incorrect!

A COPD diary should include your medications and dosages and record your thoughts on their effectiveness and side effects as well as list any exacerbations, when they occurred, how long they lasted, and any possible triggers.

In addition, keep track of your daily nutrition and your exercise regimen, noting your perceived exertion score for each workout. It will help bring your doctor up to speed on medication reactions and any changes you have noted in your physical and mental condition.

When you see your doctor, ask if there is any other information you should be regularly recording in your diary.

Your Results

YOU GOT 37% CORRECT
YOUR SCORE
0
0
  1. To get the most benefit from treatment, you may want to keep a diary devoted to COPD and bring it with you to discuss with your doctor. This diary should list:

    Correct Answer: All of the above

    A COPD diary should include your medications and dosages and record your thoughts on their effectiveness and side effects as well as list any exacerbations, when they occurred, how long they lasted, and any possible triggers.

    In addition, keep track of your daily nutrition and your exercise regimen, noting your perceived exertion score for each workout. It will help bring your doctor up to speed on medication reactions and any changes you have noted in your physical and mental condition.

    When you see your doctor, ask if there is any other information you should be regularly recording in your diary.

  2. COPD inhalers can be tricky to use, so you should bring your medication with you and show your doctor how you’re using it.

    Correct Answer: True. It never hurts to have a refresher.

    An inhaler can be difficult to use because it requires coordination between the release of the medication and your inhalation. Even when you use an inhaler correctly, most of the medication sticks to the back of the throat, and no more than 10 to 20 percent of it actually reaches your lungs.

    The key to getting the most from your inhaler is to use the proper technique so that more of the medicine will reach your lungs. If you’re not certain you’re using the inhaler correctly, ask your doctor to watch you as you use it to make sure that you are employing the proper technique.

  3. You got the results of your spirometry test. People who have COPD have:

    Correct Answer: An FEV1/FVC ratio of less than 70 percent.

    If you have COPD, you will have an FEV1/FVC ratio of less than 70 percent. A spirometer calculates two numbers: the amount of air you blow out in the first second, and the amount of air you blow out in one entire breath. Those numbers are represented as FEV1 (forced expiratory volume) and FVC (forced vital capacity; sometimes FEV6 is used).

    The FEV1 ratio indicates how severe your airways are obstructed (blocked or narrowed). Less than 80 percent FEV1 ratio indicates moderate COPD, and less than 50 percent indicates severe COPD. Check with your doctor if you’re unsure what your spirometry test results mean.

  4. Which of these is a sign of a COPD flare-up?

    Correct Answer: All of the above

    Wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, an increase in mucus, confusion or sleepiness, and ankle and foot swelling are all possible signs of a COPD flare-up. Although lung function tends to decrease slowly over time with COPD, the decline may be frequently punctuated by flares — acute episodes of worsening symptoms, usually because of a viral or bacterial infection.

    Also called exacerbations, those episodes may be severe enough to be life threatening. They also seem to speed the rate of disease progression. so it’s important to help prevent them as much as possible.

  5. Ask your doctor what you can do to avoid infections and other causes of COPD exacerbations. If you can’t afford your COPD medication, you should:

    Correct Answer: Ask your doctor for a two-week sample of a drug you already take or for a coupon for that drug

    You can’t take half doses of COPD medications like you can with pills, nor are there many generic options for COPD. Instead, ask your doctor for a two-week sample of a medication you already use regularly, or ask for coupons for that drug to save money.

  6. Medication is the only effective therapy for COPD.

    Correct Answer: False

    While medication will certainly help relieve some of your symptoms, doctors now recommend comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation programs as an important part of COPD therapy. Those special “rehab” programs combine stretching, resistance training, and endurance training, which not only get you moving again but also help boost sagging morale and improve your quality of life. Ask your doctor if a COPD rehab program would work for you.

  7. The best candidates for pulmonary rehabilitation are:

    Correct Answer: All of the above

    Everyone with COPD is a good candidate for pulmonary rehabilitation. While most doctors recommend it for people with moderate to severe COPD, the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Lung Disease (GOLD) recommends it for people with mild COPD as well. And a recent finding in the journal Age and Ageing suggests that it doesn’t matter how old you are. In a small study of 74 people with COPD, ranging in age from 65 to 83, a comprehensive program of training of the upper and lower limbs significantly improved the distance the participants could walk in 6 minutes.

  8. Some exercise is important for people with COPD, but you should avoid these activities:

    Correct Answer: All of the above under certain circumstances

    If you feel breathless or have pain in your joints when you do any exercise, you’re pushing too hard and should back off to avoid injury.

    One precaution: When exercising at home or in a gym, always have a chair nearby in case you get breathless, dizzy, or overly fatigued. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program on your own.

  9. Your doctor will probably prescribe oxygen therapy for your COPD when:

    Correct Answer: The oxygen concentration in your blood is less than 88 percent

    When blood oxygen levels begin to drop, distress signals are sent to the brain, which then results in shortness of breath and rapid breathing. As oxygen levels drop even lower, the tips of your fingers may appear to be blue. Once your lungs can no longer provide your body with adequate oxygen at rest or when you’re sleeping or exercising, you will need supplemental oxygen therapy. To determine whether you need it, your doctor will measure your oxygen levels by taking a blood sample, typically from your wrist. Some doctors may test your need for oxygen using an oximeter, a small electronic device attached to the end of your index finger. Results above 90 percent oxygen saturation indicate that you don’t need supplemental oxygen. But this test is typically accompanied by a 6-minute walk test to see if your oxygen saturation drops below 88 percent. If that happens, you will be be prescribed oxygen therapy. Ask your doctor if your oxygen concentration is within a range that may require therapy.

  10. If a little oxygen is good, more is better.

    Correct Answer: False

    Never change the amount of oxygen you’re taking or adjust the flow rate on your own. If you take in more oxygen than you need, you can drastically reduce your ability to breathe. Always ask your doctor before making any changes in your oxygen flow rate.

  11. Could this quiz prompt a discussion with your doctor about your COPD treatment?

    Correct Answer: Yes, I think it could help.

    If you answered yes, you understand that working closely with your doctor will increase the likelihood you’ll get good medical care. While COPD is a serious progressive lung disease that makes it hard to breathe, the condition is treatable. You can print the results page for this quiz and take it to your doctor at your next visit. The answers could spark a dialogue with your doctor that could lead to better COPD treatment, allowing you to breathe easier.