Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Make an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner if you have prolonged fatigue or other signs or symptoms that worry you. If you're diagnosed with a type of anemia that requires more complex treatment, such as aplastic anemia or anemia caused by other diseases, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in blood disorders (hematologist).
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking to show your doctor.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your appointment. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For anemia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What caused my anemia?
- Is my anemia likely temporary, or will I always have it?
- What treatments are available? What are the possible side effects of each?
- What treatment do you recommend for me?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?
- Are there foods I need to add to my diet? How often do I need to eat these foods?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you begin having these symptoms?
- Do you have your symptoms all the time, or do they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/anemia/anemia_all.html. Accessed Feb. 7, 2013.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Feb. 7, 2013.
- Bryan LJ, et al. Why is my patient anemic? Hematology and Oncology Clinics of North America. 2012;26:205.
- Laboratory reference values. Hematology group. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; Aug. 2011.
- Overview of hemolytic anemia. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology_and_oncology/anemias_caused_by_hemolysis/overview_of_hemolytic_anemia.html#v969631. Accessed Feb. 7, 2013.