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
You may want 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
- 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 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?
- Cough. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/cough/cough_all.html. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Chung KF, et al. Cough. In: Mason RJ, et al. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/192068760-2/0/1288/0.html. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Kraft M. Approach to the patient with cough. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Silvestri RC, et al. Evaluation of subacute and chronic cough in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 11, 2011.
- Weinberger SE, et al. Treatment of subacute and chronic cough in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 14, 2011.