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Your medical history provides important
clues that can help your doctor diagnose
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In taking your medical history, your doctor will
ask questions about:
During the physical exam,
your doctor will examine your body for other clues that may explain the cause
of your symptoms. A physical exam involves:
A physical exam is not painful, but parts of it
(such as abdominal palpation) may feel slightly uncomfortable.
A history and physical exam help
your doctor make a diagnosis. They are a routine and important part of any
visit to a doctor.
Your history may reveal risk factors that
suggest you have COPD or an increased risk for developing COPD, such as:
Your physical exam may also suggest COPD. Findings
indicating COPD include:
Certain physical exam findings will help your doctor assess
the severity of your condition. These include:
Any one or more of these findings may suggest severe
A careful history and examination of your heart should
also be done to exclude heart disease that can either be associated with or
cause symptoms similar to those of COPD. This is especially important, because
smoking increases the risk for heart disease as well as for COPD. The heart
exam may reveal a rapid heart rate or show signs of
liver may be increased in size, which sometimes can
occur because of right-sided heart failure (cor pulmonale).
result of the physical exam varies. Not every person will have all the possible
symptoms or signs of COPD.
November 29, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
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