Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment you may be referred to a specialist called an endocrinologist.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make your appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do to prepare for common diagnostic tests.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment. For example, if you've been feeling more forgetful than usual, this is important information to share with your doctor. Also tell your doctor about changes you've noticed in your physical appearance, such as unexplained weight gain or a difference in your skin.
- Write down key personal information, including any changes in your menstrual cycle and in your sex life. Let your doctor know if your libido has changed.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements you're taking or have used in the past. Include the specific name and dose of these medications, and how long you've been taking them.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. It can be difficult to soak up all the information. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Create a list of questions ahead of your appointment so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor. For Hashimoto's disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- How long will I need to take medications?
- What side effects could I experience from the medications you're recommending?
- How will you monitor whether my treatment is working?
- Under what circumstances might my medications need to be adjusted?
- Will I experience long-term complications from this condition?
- Do I need to make any changes to my diet?
- Will exercise benefit my condition?
- Are there restrictions I need to follow?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor any other questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- How have your symptoms changed over time?
- Have you noticed any changes in your energy level or your mood?
- Has your appearance changed, including weight gain or skin dryness?
- Has your voice changed?
- Have your bowel habits changed? How?
- Do you have muscle or joint pain? Where?
- Have you noticed a change in your sensitivity to cold?
- Have you felt more forgetful than usual?
- Has your interest in sex decreased? If you're a woman, has your menstrual cycle changed?
- Are you being treated or have you recently been treated for any other medical conditions?
- Do any of your family members have thyroid disease?
- Davies, TF. Pathogenesis of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (chronic autoimmune thyroiditis). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Frequently asked questions: Hashimoto's disease. US Department of Health & Human Services. http://www.4woman.gov/faq/hashimoto-thyroiditis.cfm. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis: Information for patients. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. www.aace.com/pub/thyroidbrochures/pdfs/Hashimoto.pdf. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis. American Association for Clinical Chemistry. http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/hashimoto-4.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2010.
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec12/ch152/ch152d.html. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
- Ross DS. Treatment of hypothyroidism. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
- Hashimoto's disease. The Hormone Foundation. http://www.hormone.org/Resources/Thyroid/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=1113. Accessed Nov. 17, 2010.