British Lung Foundation
33,827 members41,268 posts


It is worrying to see the number of members, who have difficulty getting information from their doctors or nurses. This is a list I got from the Inspire site of questions it is suggested you ask your doctor when you go for a check up. After all, it is your life they are dealing with.

10 Questions To Ask Your Doctor:

This Is A Suggested List Of Questions , Add your own to the list !

1. What is my diagnosis and how can I learn more about it?

2. What areas of my body can be affected by my condition? How?

3. What tests will you do to diagnose my problem? How safe are these


4. What is the likely course of my problem? What is the long-term


5. What are my treatment options? Do I take treatments regularly or as


6. What can I do on my own to improve my condition?

7. I have certain special concerns (e.g. exercise, travel, work

environment, certain foods, pets, pregnancy, surgery, alternative medicines,

relative with serious outcomes with similar disease or medications). How do

these issues relate to my situation?

8. Regarding my medications, how much do I take and for how long? What

does this medication do and when will I feel/know that they are working?

What are the possible side effects of the medications and how should we monitor

for them (e.g. laboratory testing, blood pressure reading)? Will these

medications interact with the other medication that I am taking? What

happens if I forget to take it?

9. If my symptoms worsen, what should I do on my own? When should I

call your office versus going to the emergency room? What should I do late

at night?

10. If you have asthma, ask your doctor to give you an Asthma/COPD Care Plan

in writing.


What do my spirometry or PFT results tell you about my specific situation?

What can I do to manage and control this chronic disease?

Do you recommend pulmonary rehab for me? If not, why not? What about a home exercise program?

If I have an increase in any of my symptoms, what should I do? Will you work with me via email or by phone instead of an office visit? What to do/not do when you are ill.

Others often have antibiotics and prednisone on hand; will you arrange that for me? If not, why not?

What would happen if I quit smoking today? What would happen if I don't quit smoking? What kind of damage does smoke do to my lungs, including 2nd-hand smoke?

Do explain prescribed meds and why, also that they may or may not help, that there are other meds that can also be tried, and the patient needs to let the doctor. know if the meds are helping and of any ill effects. The doctor. should tell patient that some of these meds may cause the shakes, pulse variations. (I think a patient can handle these better if they know to possibly expect them.)

When is it time to get yourself to the doctor (DON'T WAIT!).

Explain how the pulse oximeter works, and the differences in the results from the arterial blood gas test.

How much is too much of your "rescue" inhaler.


Prepare ahead of time for the "routine" questions that doctors almost

always ask.

Prepare your own list of questions, in writing for the doctor.

Bring a copy of old pertinent records, if you have been seen by

specialists in the past.

Bring a list of medications that you have tried in the past and are

currently using.

Establishing an accurate diagnosis is key to proper treatments. You are

the most important person in this process by accurately describing to your

doctor the character, location, duration, and time of onset of your

symptoms. You should also inform your doctor about vitamins, herbs, and

medications you are taking. For example, long-term use of certain

vitamins and non-prescription medications may be the cause of your abnormal

liver tests; magnesium-containing antacids and supplements may be causing

your diarrhoea; certain blood pressure pills can be the reason for your


17 Replies

Good work Tamariki! Just how to fit it all into a 10 minute appointment?


I was just going to say the same B. I think I would be shoved out of the door without even covering half of that. x


Hi Tamarik, good list, but no time in the GPs surgery . Maybe you could put a question at each appointment. I went for a double appointment with my assigned GP but we still could not cover all. Just a thought some questions the practice nurse could answer possibly. If your doctor has a computer then all medications are on one screen past and present, so eliminates the need for you to take details to the surgery. My Gp has records of all past consultants reports too on computer file. But always keep your own copies at home in case the computer crashes. It takes time to search the computer files too so your own copy can be quicker, your idea is brilliant but no solution is simple to implement. x


Read this with interest. I would suggest asking for a double length aptment to see the GP. Print the list off and let the GP have it in front of him/her,

I have found that the pharmacist can be very helpful, too. Share the questions between the two of them. X


I like this very much. I have printed it off. I do not intend to ask all of the questions just write down the ones that are important to me for the next specialist visit, I can then keep this as some of the questions I may need to ask in the future. thank you.


Thankyou Tamariki,

I have printed it off and I'll tick the questions I want answering next time I have to go.



Anyone over 70 from England, will know that the doctors we knew, were entirely different to present day general practitioners. Most of our illnesses were dealt with by grandmothers/mothers using home remedies. Bread poeticises for young boys with boils on their necks. A dab of marg on a lump on the head. No ADDH for children. A good kick up the bum soon got rid of that. Very few drugs. No health food or drinks. Lucky if you could get fresh fruit. Measles, mumps, scarlet fever, scurvy were rampant. Specialists were few and far between. No N.H.S.

Todays doctors have much more information available to them. There are new diseases and treatments that the old doctors could only dream about. Nowadays there are specialists for every kind of illness.

I personally think that general practitioners have to many patients, and have little time to fully discuss patients illnesses. We have several doctors from Britain locally, and they say that the extra 5 minutes they give to patients, makes all the difference in their ability to diagnose problems.

Because of these factors, as far as COPD is concerned, we must learn as much about our illness as we can, and ask the doctor pertinent question relating to it. In many cases, they rely on us to tell them the effects our meds are having on us, and maybe use this to further their knowledge of this dreadful disease.


Hello Tamariki

You post and questions are excellent, but sadly we are not living in an ideal world as far as time and our GP's are concerned.

We do have to take an active part in gaining information, be it from the pharmacist, practice nurse, BFL, or the NHS sites...and let's not forget the members on here.

I am a great believer in writing down questions when l manage to get an appointment with my GP, and l don't move my bum off the seat until l have answers, but l find after 5 or 10 minutes the GP switches off.....

I have come up with a cunning plan....l will inform my GP there is X

Amount of questions l need answering, and ask him if he would like to answer them all at once or shall l make X amount of appointments.😂...That should make him look up from his computer screen,..l swear his is playing a PC game during my appointment !!

I wish you well

Velvet xx


U got to be joking,don't be silly doctors app? Soon as your in the door they want to be rid of you, questions?? They won't speak to you!! They do know but they don't want you to's too complicated!!.. Haven't the time to explain. To you ,the meds have serious side effects ,so it is take responsibility for your own health,you cannot rely on anyone else. More money could pay human beings to help people understand what is happening to them on a daily basis ,when they look ok. Silent illness.


Hello Colours

I think you are like me , if we go to the GPs, we don't suffer fools lightly, and we won't be moved until we are satisfied.

Sadly many people come out of their GP no better informed than when they went in.

It's a BL**dy disgrace, with no sign of it getting any better.

That's my Rant for the day !!

Keep well

Velvet x


Good to have your input Colours. It may be a silent illness but if we all go in to see the GP well prepared with a list of questions, we may be able to rattle off a couple. Pete writes a list but it can feel rushed, that's if you can get an appointment in the first place.

Wishing you well. Xxx

1 like

I must be very lucky then. I can usually speak to my own GP over the phone within the same day and get an appointment with the on-call one on any day. He even rang my consultants office for me to try and chivvy up a test I was looking for.

There are good and bad and they are horribly overstretched. I say it all the time when they are gone they will be missed.


I think it could be hard to ask all those questions in a surgery appointment, and I've hardly ever seen my GP in 10 years of having COPD

I've found that my best sources of information, help and support are our practice nurse who is less pressured than the GP and is a "chest" specialist, and the Pulmonary Rehab physios


At a BLF event they were handing out COPD passports. They had a similar list of questions that you should have answers to and if not then you need to ask the questions. My mum picked one up to pass to our local surgery.


Thank heaven for mums:)


Excellent most excellent thank you kindly x


useful thank you xxx


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