Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.
Information to prepare in advance
- Write down any symptoms you've experienced, including whether you think you may have had a TIA and when.
- List your personal risk factors for stroke, including family history of heart disease or stroke and lifestyle habits such as smoking and lack of physical activity.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including other recent health problems you've had and the names of any prescription and over-the-counter medications you're taking.
- Find a family member or friend who can come with you to the appointment, and, if possible, someone who may have witnessed your spell. Someone who accompanies you can also help remember what the doctor says.
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
To determine your risk of stroke, your doctor may start by asking questions such as:
- Have you had any stroke-like symptoms, such as weakness on one side of your body, trouble speaking or sudden vision problems?
- When did you experience these symptoms? How long did they last?
- Have you ever seen a doctor for these symptoms?
- Do you smoke? How much?
- Do you drink alcohol? How much?
- Do you exercise regularly?
- What do you eat in a typical day?
- Do you have any family history of heart disease or stroke?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- What over-the-counter and prescription medications are you currently taking?
Next, your doctor may run tests to get a detailed picture of your carotid arteries.
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- Questions and answers about carotid endarterectomy. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/carotid_endarterectomy_backgrounder.htm. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- FDA expands approved use for carotid stent. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm254430.htm. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Angioplasty and vascular stenting. Radiological Society of North America. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=angioplasty. Accessed June 24, 2011.
- Healthy diet goals. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Healthy-Diet-Goals_UCM_310436_SubHomePage.jsp. Accessed June 28, 2011.
- Meissner I (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 6, 2011.