Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Be prepared for your visit to your doctor so that you can get the most out of your appointment. At each visit:
- Take your asthma action plan with you when you see your doctor. If you haven't made one yet, work with your doctor to create one. This plan should discuss how to treat an asthma attack.
- Include your peak flow meter results and all of your medications.
- Be prepared to discuss your symptoms, and how much your asthma has been bothering you. Often, periodic changes in treatment are needed to keep asthma under control and to prevent asthma attacks.
- Be prepared to demonstrate using your metered-dose inhaler. Improper use can reduce an inhaler's effectiveness.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. Some good questions to ask your doctor include:
- Do my medications or treatment plan need to be changed?
- What are the signs that I may be about to have an asthma attack?
- What can I take to prevent an asthma attack when my symptoms get worse, or when I'm exposed to my triggers?
- What steps do I need to take to stop an asthma attack in progress?
- When do I need to go to the emergency room or seek other emergency treatment?
- I'm having more heartburn. What can I do to prevent this?
- Is it time for my flu shot? Am I due for a pneumonia shot?
- What else can I do to protect my health during cold and flu season?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions if you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- Have you noticed anything that makes your asthma worse?
- What medications are you taking?
- How and when are you taking them?
- Can you please show me how you use your inhaled medication?
- Are you having any problems with your medications?
- Do you know when to call me or go to the hospital?
- Do you have any questions about your asthma action plan?
- Are you having any problems with your asthma action plan?
- Is there anything you want to be able to do that you can't because of your asthma?
- Mangan JM, et al. What do patients need to know about their asthma? http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 26, 2010.
- Krouse JH, et al. Asthma: Guidelines-based control and management. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2008;41:397.
- Fanta CH. Treatment of acute exacerbations of asthma in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 26, 2010.
- Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/asthgdln.htm. Accessed Oct. 26, 2010.
- Li JT (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 4, 2010.