Keep a COPD Journal for Improved Patient-Doctor Communication

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Many people track their thoughts and feelings in a daily journal, but if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you might want to consider keeping a journal specifically devoted to your condition and the treatments you’re using. In addition to containing a list of the various medications you are taking and the dosages, your COPD journal also serves as a record of your thoughts on drug effectiveness and side effects.

You should also note in your journal any exacerbations, when they occurred, how long they lasted, and what the possible triggers may have been. Also, keep track of your daily nutrition and your exercise regimen, noting your perceived exertion score for each workout. It is also useful to monitor your weight.

Be sure and bring your journal with you to all of your appointments. Refer to it as needed to bring your doctor up to speed with medication reactions and any specific changes you have noted in your physical, mental, and emotional condition. This can help provide the doctor with clues for a more accurate and speedy diagnosis.

Think of your journal as a log of where you’ve been, what you did, and what you experienced. This personal recordkeeping helps improve patient-doctor communication. When visiting your pulmonologist, for example, you can refer to your diary and update her about your meeting with your primary care doctor and share thoughts about treatment decisions that may have been made since your last visit.