Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
While you may initially consult your family physician, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in lung disorders (pulmonologist).
What you can do
It's a good idea to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you've had
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take, including over-the-counter drugs
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
What to expect from your doctor
A thorough medical history and physical exam can provide important clues about a chronic cough. Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Do you now or have you ever smoked tobacco?
- Does anyone in your family or workplace smoke?
- Do you have heartburn?
- Do you cough up anything? If so, what does it look like?
- Do you take blood pressure medicine? If so, what type do you take?
- When does your cough occur? After meals? At night?
- Does anything relieve your cough?
- Do you get more short of breath with exertion? Or on exposure to cold air?
- What is your travel history?
- Cough. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/cough/cough_all.html. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. Http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=$eid&isbn=978-1-4557-0295-4&uniqId=398813857-1936. Accessed April 26, 2013.
- Benich JJ, et al. Evaluation of the patient with chronic cough. American Academy of Family Physicians. www.aafp.org/afp. 2011.
- Silvestri RC, et al. Evaluation of subacute and chronic cough in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Weinberger SE, et al. Treatment of subacute and chronic cough in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 14, 2011.
- Chang AB, et al. Cough in the pediatric population. Otolaryngology Clinics of North America. 2010;43:181.
- Morice AH, et al. Recommendations for the management of cough in adults. Thorax. 2006;61(supp):1.
- Rosenow EC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 7, 2013.