Useful questions to ask


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  • Pattern of symptoms – do they vary over the 24 hour period?  Are your symptoms better/worse in the morning, afternoon, evening, night time? Clock pic
  • Triggers – are there any substances or activities that make symptoms worse?  What are you doing when you notice your symptoms? See mylungs
  • Symptom relief – What do you do to help your symptoms settle down. What  makes you feel better?  Inhaler pic
  • Employment history – what does your job involve doing/working with?  What about your previous jobs?  Is there any pattern/correlation with onset of symptoms or how symptoms behave now?
  • Smoking history – Never smoked. Previous smoker. Still smoking?  Do you live with or are usually near someone who smokes? (Second hand smoke exposure). Calculate pack years. This is equal to the number of years of smoking and the number of packs of 20 cigarettes per day. (insert link) Link to Smoking pack calculator
  • Family history – Does anyone else in the family have a respiratory condition or similar symptoms? 
  • Childhood illnesses – Were you born prematurely?  Have you suffered from any respiratory problems as a child?
  • Physical activity – Do you exercise? How far can you walk? How far could you walk 6 months ago?  What stops you now?

Establish the patients concerns and ideas during the assessment so these can be considered throughout any ongoing assessment and management.