Preparing for your appointment

Make an appointment with your primary care doctor if you have prolonged fatigue or other signs or symptoms that worry you. He or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating blood disorders (hematologist), the heart (cardiologist) or the digestive system (gastroenterologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Before your appointment make a list of:

  • Symptoms you've been having and for how long
  • Key personal information, including any major stresses, implanted medical devices, exposure to toxins or chemicals, and recent life changes
  • All medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including the doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

For anemia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • Do I need any tests?
  • Is my anemia likely temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • What side effects can I expect from treatment?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Do I need to follow any dietary restrictions?
  • Do I need to add any foods to my diet? How often do I need to eat these foods?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed materials I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you begin having these symptoms?
  • Do your symptoms come and go or are they constant?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
  • Are you a vegetarian?
  • How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you usually eat in a day?
  • Do you drink alcohol? If so, how often, and how many drinks do you usually have?
  • Are you a smoker?
  • Have you recently donated blood more than once?
Aug. 06, 2016
References
  1. Your guide to anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/blood/anemia-yg.pdf. Accessed Nov. 30, 2015.
  2. Marx JA, et al., eds. Anemia, polycythemia and white blood cell disorders. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 30, 2015.
  3. Riggin EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 10, 2015.
  4. Schrier SL. Approach to the adult patient with anemia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 30, 2015.
  5. Anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/anemia/. Accessed Nov. 30, 2015.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Sickle cell disease. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  7. Dietary supplement fact sheet: Folate. Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/. Accessed Nov. 30, 2015.
  8. Dietary supplement fact sheet: Vitamin C. Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/. Accessed Nov. 30, 2015.
  9. Benz EJ. Treatment of beta thalassemia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 4, 2015.
  10. Field JJ et al. Overview of the management and prognosis of sickle cell disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 4, 2015.
  11. Lichtman MA, et al. Structure of the marrow and the hematopoietic microenvironment. In: Williams Hematology. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=358&sectionid=39835818. Accessed Dec. 4, 2015.
  12. Hoffman R, et al. Hematologic aspects of parasitic diseases. In: Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 30, 2015.
  13. Kassebaum NJ, et al. A systematic analysis of global anemia burden from 1990 to 2010. Blood. 2014;123:615.
  14. Berns JS. Anemia of chronic kidney disease: Target hemoglobin/hematocrit for patients treated with erythropoietic agents. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 8, 2015.
  15. Stabler SP. Vitamin B12 deficiency. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;368:149.
  16. Anemia and older adults. American Society of Hematology. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Anemia/Adults.aspx. Accessed Dec. 9, 2015.