Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to first see your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the nervous system (neurologist).
What you can do
- Because progressive supranuclear palsy is diagnosed by your signs and symptoms, 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, vitamins and supplements that 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.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For progressive supranuclear palsy, 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?
- How does progressive supranuclear palsy usually progress?
- Will I eventually need long-term care?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend for me?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- If the treatment doesn't work or stops working, do I have additional options?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any restrictions on my activity?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for me?
- Are there any informational brochures or websites 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. He or she may ask:
- Have you experienced problems with balance or walking?
- Do you find it difficult to see below you? For example, can you see your plate when you eat?
- Do you have trouble speaking or swallowing?
- Have your movements felt stiff or shaky?
- Have you experienced any troubling mood changes?
- When did you begin experiencing these symptoms?
- Have these symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Does anything seem to improve or worsen these symptoms?
- What, if any, treatments have you tried?
- Progressive supranuclear palsy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/psp/detail_psp.htm. Accessed Dec. 14, 2010.
- Dickson DW, et al. Neuropathology of variants of progressive supranuclear palsy. Current Opinion in Neurology. 2010; 23:394.
- Ropper AH, et al. Degenerative diseases of the nervous system. In: Ropper AH, et al. Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3639296&searchStr=progressive+supranuclear+palsy. Accessed Dec. 14, 2010.
- Hyun JH, et al. Behavioral changes as the earliest clinical manifestation of progressive supranuclear palsy. Journal of Clinical Neurology. 2010;6:148.
- Golbe LI. Progressive supranuclear palsy: Some answers. CurePSP. http://www.psp.org/about. Accessed Dec. 14, 2010.
- Stamelou M, et al. Short-term effects of coenzyme Q10 in progressive supranuclear palsy: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Movement Disorders. 2008;23:942.
- Josephs KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 29, 2010.