Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs and symptoms that worry you. If you're diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, you may need tests to look for a source of blood loss, including tests to examine your gastrointestinal tract.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, 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, as well as any vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. For iron deficiency 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?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have another health condition. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any dietary restrictions that I need to follow?
- 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 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 points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Have you noticed unusual bleeding, such as heavy periods, bleeding from hemorrhoids or nosebleeds?
- Are you a vegetarian?
- Have you recently donated blood more than once?
- Brittenham GM. Disorders of iron metabolism: Iron deficiency and iron overload. In: Hoffman R, et al. Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-443-06715-0..X5001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-443-06715-0&uniqId=230100505-56. Accessed Jan. 24, 2011.
- Iron-deficiency anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/ida/ida_all.html. Accessed Jan. 24, 2011.
- Iron-deficiency anemia. American Society of Hematology. http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Blood-Disorders/Anemia/5263.aspx. Accessed Jan. 24, 2011.
- Laboratory reference values. Hematology group. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; January 2011.
- Reiss RF, et al. Current concerns for blood donor well-being and health. Southern Medical Journal. 2010;103:343.