Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
To make the most of your appointment time, it's good to arrive prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know 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.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
- Ask a family member or friend to come with you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For peripheral neuropathy, 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? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Are there alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Do I need to restrict any activities?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
- Do you have any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease?
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Peripheral neuropathy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.
- Peripheral neuropathy. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec17/ch234/ch234h.html?qt=peripheral%20neuropathy&alt=sh#v1046209. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.
- Pai S. Peripheral neuropathy. In: Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/156944782-3/0/1494/62.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2954-0..50019-3--cesec2_528. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
- Dietary supplement fact sheet: Vitamin B12. Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb12.asp. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
- Bril V, et al. Evidence-based guideline: Treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy. Neurology. 2011;76:1758.
- Ropper AH, et al. Diseases of the peripheral nerves. In: Ropper AH, et al. Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3641268. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.
- Amato AA, et al. Peripheral neuropathy. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison's Principals of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9148461. Accessed Aug. 25, 2011.