Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You may initially bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor, your dentist or your eye doctor. However, you may eventually be referred to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions — for diagnosis and treatment.
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about your medical problems, past and present
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
For Sjogren's syndrome, some basic questions you may want to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- Do I need any tests to confirm the diagnosis?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- How soon can I expect my symptoms to improve with treatment?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medication you're prescribing?
- Am I at risk of long-term complications from this condition?
- I have other health conditions. How best can I manage them together?
- When should I be seen for a follow-up exam?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed materials that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend for more information?
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 any points you want to spend more time on. Questions that might come up:
- When did you first notice eye discomfort or dry mouth?
- Did any other new symptoms appear about the same time?
- Do your symptoms follow any pattern — getting worse as the day passes or causing more trouble indoors than outside?
- Do you feel thirstier than usual?
- What beverages do you drink with meals?
- How often do you drink soda, coffee or tea, or an energy drink?
- How much alcohol do you drink?
- Do you use recreational drugs?
- Do you have any chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or arthritis?
- Have you recently started any new medications?
- Do you have any close relatives with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or a similar disease?
- Questions and answers about Sjogren's syndrome. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sjogrens_Syndrome/default.asp. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Kruszka P, et al. Diagnosis and management of Sjogren syndrome. American Family Physician. 2009;79:465.
- Naguwa S, et al. Sjogren's syndrome. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/137554062-3/841563606/1492/1035.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2805-5..50294-9_13050. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Sjogren's syndrome. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/sjogrens.asp. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Fox R, et al. Treatment of Sjogren's syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 6, 2011.