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COPD: tell me more than your symptoms

Posted Aug 26 2010 4:47am

Assessing the impact of COPD goes beyond  traditional question like “how’s your cough?” or “how tight you feel your chest?” since these days the clinicians are seeing with a wider perspective.

Challenge the norm

When assessing the impact of the disease on patients it has been necessary to look for more. This is a typical feature of chronic diseases. Being clear that the disease doesn’t go away but it is treatable, is an important concept to discuss among patients, caregivers, and physicians. We all have to challenge ourselves and look for what else the condition has changed in the lives of patients and look for potential solutions.

COPD is understood as a disease beyond lungs. It affects the entire life of an individual and it is not about one inhaler as only solution. In the trend of discussions on the impact of disease on quality of life, mental health, social interaction, physical activity, and others, there are emerging concepts to redesign the management.

Physicians are looking for more in you

Fortunately, these days are a frame for patients and physicians to conceive the human being more than an research’s subject or a social entity. Today patients are meditating on their life beyond their symptoms. Physicians are trying to interact with patients and relatives in a less distant manner to get more information and provide with more support.

It’s also a patient’s responsibility

When discussing with physicians about COPD symptoms, being prolific in sharing thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the disease more than the symptom is important. This environment will provide the physician with a sense of the care that patient is taking of their health. It will also invite the physician to foster a relationship intended to conceive the patient and their disease as an individual situation and try individual approaches.

Of course, it is important to respect the professional time to get the best of the service. Keeping a diary on feelings, ideas, symptoms and reading it back in time, might provide the patient with a broader perspective of the disease that can be summarized when visiting the doctor. A good doctor will pay attention to those key thoughts and will say a sentence that can help more than a prescription on a sheet of paper.

The doctor can be what patient might need

Patients must be sure to bring something engaging to doctor’s office. That something else should be their thoughts to help address their condition. Communication is a thing of more than oneself. Communication between doctors and patients implies confidence and truth. If a medicine seems not being working, it needs to be said. Doctors may help understand the nature of medicines work and what to expect of them. Symptoms are getting worse in spikes more frequently than previous years? … share with the doctor to implement new strategies and assess results in the future.

Keep track … not only about symptoms, but about emotions, social interaction, the general impact of the disease.

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