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Respiratory symptoms Assessment Questionnaire

Questions Your Doctor May Ask - and Why!

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Respiratory symptoms. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long have you had the respiratory symptoms?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic e.g. chronic cough is a cough that has been present and not improving for more than 4 weeks. Acute cough may suggest acute upper respiratory tract infection (e.g. common cold or influenza), viral pneumonia or bacterial pneumonia. A chronic cough is more suggestive of pneumoconiosis (lung disorder caused by inhalation of mineral dusts, organic dusts, fumes and vapors), chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, tuberculosis, lung cancer or asthma.

  2. What respiratory symptoms do you have?

    Why: e.g. cough, shortness of breath, fever, chest pain.

  3. If you have a cough, how would you describe the cough?

    Why: e.g. paroxysmal with whoops suggest whooping cough; painful cough may suggest left ventricular heart failure; weak cough may suggest lung cancer, bovine (no power to cough) suggests vocal cord paralysis.

  4. If you have a cough, what time of the day is the cough worse?

    Why: e.g. cough at night may suggest asthma, left ventricular failure, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, whooping cough; cough on waking may suggest bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis or gastro-esophageal reflux.

  5. If you have a cough, is the cough related to meals?

    Why: e.g. esophageal diverticulum, tracheo-esophageal fistula.

  6. Is there a possibility of a foreign body such as a peanut having gone down the wrong way?
  7. Past medical history?

    Why: recurrent lung infections from childhood may suggest cystic fibrosis or bronchiectasis; hay fever and eczema makes the chance of asthma more likely; heart attack, high blood pressure and rheumatic heart disease increase the risk of congestive cardiac failure.

  8. Medications?

    Why: many different medications can produce respiratory problems e.g. pulmonary embolism from oral contraceptive pill; fibrotic lung diseases from cytotoxic agents such as methotrexate, cyclophosphamide and bleomycin; bronchospasm from beta-blockers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications; cough from ACE inhibitor blood pressure medications.

  9. Family history?

    Why: e.g. asthma; cystic fibrosis; emphysema ( alpha 1- antitrypsin deficiency);anyone in the family had tuberculosis or a chronic cough.

  10. Cigarette smoking

    Why: number of packets per day and number of years you have smoked. Smoking is a major risk cause of lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Passive smoking exposure is also regarded as a significant risk.

  11. Are you exposed to any smoke or fumes?
  12. Alcohol history?

    Why: The drinking of large amounts of alcohol in binges can sometimes result in aspiration pneumonia and alcoholics are also prone to develop pneumococcal or Klebsiella pneumonia.

  13. Occupational history?

    Why: e.g. exposure to dusts in mining industries and factories such as asbestos, coal, silica, iron oxide, tin oxide, cotton, beryllium, titanium oxide, silver, nitrogen dioxide, anhydrides; farmers exposure to bacteria in hay and causing "farmer's lung"; pigeon breeders exposed to protein from bird feathers and excreta causing "bird fancier's lung.

  14. Sputum production?

    Why: If there is sputum production, describe it? - e.g. copious amounts with offensive smell suggests bronchiectasis; pus-like sputum may suggest pneumonia, abscess, tuberculosis or bronchiectasis; yellow-green thick and sticky may suggest asthma; profuse and watery may suggest lung cancer; red-currant jelly may suggest lung cancer; pink and frothy may suggest left ventricular failure with pulmonary edema.

  15. Blood in sputum?

    Why: may suggest chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, lung cancer, lung metastasis, foreign body, left ventricular failure and mitral stenosis.

  16. Wheeze?

    Why: usually suggests asthma but may also be chronic bronchitis, emphysema, foreign body, lung cancer, congestive heart failure.

  17. If you have had a wheeze, have you had previous attacks of wheezing, hay fever or eczema?

    Why: more likely to suggest asthma as cause of chronic cough.

  18. Shortness of breath?

    Why: In acute cases may suggest congestive heart failure, pulmonary embolism and pneumonia. In chronic cases may suggest emphysema, chronic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic congestive heart failure, tuberculosis and lung cancer.

  19. Orthopnea (breathlessness lying down flat)?

    Why: suggests left ventricular heart failure.

  20. Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (inappropriate severe breathlessness causing waking from sleep)?

    Why: suggests left ventricular failure.

  21. Burning sensation in throat or chest when you cough?

    Why: may suggest gastro-esophageal reflux as cause of chronic cough.

  22. Weight loss?

    Why: may suggest lung cancer, laryngeal cancer, tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, lung abscess.

  23. Swelling of the legs?

    Why: may suggest left ventricular heart failure.

  24. Stridor?

    Why: may suggest whooping cough, foreign body, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the trachea.

  25. Fever?

    Why: may suggest bacterial or viral pneumonia, tuberculosis, lung abscess, lung cancer or lung infarction. Fever at night may suggest tuberculosis, pneumonia of mesothelioma (tumor of lung lining due to asbestos exposure).

  26. Leg swelling?

    Why: may suggest congestive heart failure.

  27. Symptoms of congestive cardiac failure?

    Why: e.g. fatigue (especially exertional fatigue), increasing shortness of breath on exertion, bilateral ankle swelling that is usually symmetrical and worse in the evenings, with improvement during the night. As the heart failure progresses, swelling ascends to involve the legs, thighs, genitalia and abdomen. May experience paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (severe shortness of breath which wakes the person from sleep so that they are forced to get up gasping for breath).

  28. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis?

    Why: e.g. productive cough on most days for at least three months of the year for at least two consecutive years, shortness of breath, wheeze.

  29. Symptoms of pneumonia?

    Why: e.g. fever, sharp chest pain worse with coughing and breathing, green sputum, shortness of breath. May have blood stained sputum.

  30. Symptoms of asthma?

    Why: e.g. intermittent wheeze, shortness of breath and cough. Cough is often worse at night.

  31. Symptoms of sarcoidosis?

    Why: e.g. shortness of breath, cough, tiredness, joint pain, skin symptoms occur in 10% of cases and may include purple or brown plaques or nodules on face, nose, ears and neck in chronic sarcoidosis.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Respiratory symptoms:

The following list of conditions have 'Respiratory symptoms' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Respiratory symptoms or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Conditions listing medical complications: Respiratory symptoms:

The following list of medical conditions have 'Respiratory symptoms' or similar listed as a medical complication in our database.

 

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