Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor if you have signs and symptoms of Behcet's disease. But, because Behcet's disease is rare, and some of the signs and symptoms are similar to those of other disorders, you may need to see a specialist, such as a doctor who treats arthritis and other rheumatic illnesses (rheumatologist), before getting the diagnosis of Behcet's disease.
If a rheumatologist wasn't involved in your diagnosis, you may be referred to a rheumatologist for the management of Behcet's. Depending on your signs and symptoms, you may also need to see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) for eye problems, a gynecologist or a urologist for genital sores, a dermatologist for skin problems, a gastroenterologist for digestive difficulties, or a neurologist for symptoms that involve the brain or central nervous system.
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be 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. Also, write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- If possible, bring a family member or friend with you. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- 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 visit. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For Behcet's, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What do you think is causing my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes for my symptoms?
- Do I need any special tests?
- Is this condition temporary?
- What treatments are available? Which do you recommend?
- I have another health condition. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites or organizations do you recommend for gathering more information?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared, 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 discuss points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- What types of signs and symptoms have you been having?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Do you have symptoms all the time, or do they come and go?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Is there anyone in your family who has a similar illness?
- Saadoun D, et al. Behcet's disease. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. 2012;7:1.
- Questions and answers about Behcet's disease. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Behcets_Disease/default.asp. Accessed Nov. 15, 2012.
- Mendes D, et al. Behcet's disease — A contemporary review. Journal of Autoimmunity. 2009;32:178.
- Ambrose NL, et al. Differential diagnosis and management of Behcet syndrome. Nature Reviews Rheumatology. In press. Accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
- Okada AA, et al. Multicenter study of infliximab for refractory uveoretinitis in Behcet disease. Archives of Ophthalmology. 2012;130:592.
- Arida A, et al. Anti-TNF agents for Behcet's disease: Analysis of published data on 369 patients. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2011;41:61.
- Benitah NR, et al. The use of biologic agents in the treatment of ocular manifestations of Behcet's disease. Seminars in Ophthalmology. 2011;26:295.