10 Signs of a Great Asthma Doctor

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Goes beyond asking questions

Your doctor should actually assess you. During a first appointment, he or she should take out a stethoscope and listen to your lungs, order lab tests or a chest x-ray, order other tests to rule out other diseases, take a medical history, etc.

Orders a pulmonary function test (PFT)

At some point, your doctor should order a PFT. This is the only definitive way to diagnose asthma.

Stresses importance of carrying a rescue inhaler

Your doctor should discuss the importance of carrying a quick-relief inhaler, such as Albuterol with you at all times, as well as encourage the use of a spacer. Medicine works 175 percent better with fewer side effects when used with a spacer.

Explains the correct use of inhalers

You should only use your rescue inhaler for relief of acute asthma symptoms, or as a premedication before exercise. Your doctor should also demonstrate techniques for using inhalers to make sure you get it right.

Works with you to create an asthma action plan

This is a combination of understanding your symptoms, using a peak flow meter, and calling your doctor or going to the ER if your peak flow meter reading less than 60 percent.

Gives you a peak flow meter

And shows you how to use it in accordance with your asthma action plan.

Makes sure you know the difference between quick-relief and controller meds

Your doctor should make sure you understand you must continue to take your controller meds, no matter how good you feel. Controller meds keep chronic inflammation in check, while quick-relief inhalers work to reverse episodic airway narrowing.

Explains new medications and side effects

If your doctor orders an new medicine, he or she should explain why it was ordered and go over the possible side effects.

Refers you to an allergy specialist

If you have alleriges, and 70 percent of asthmatics do, once your asthma is controlled your doctor should refer you to an allergy specialist. Here you can get allergy tests to help determine what you need to avoid.

Is open-minded

Your doctor should be open about answering your questions, and consider any suggestions about new treatments you have or wisdom you have gained as you learn more about your asthma.