Preparing For Your Appointment With An Endocrinologist
If your GP refers you to an endocrinologist, here is some information to help you prepared for your appointment and what you should expect from him/her. However, if you wish to see a particular endocrinologist and not his senior/junior registrar, then please insist on seeing the doctor of your choice from the word go. Tell the person who arranges the appointments that you will wait, if necessary, to see whoever you have chosen to see and will only attend his/her particular clinics. That way, you and the endocrinologist will be able to build up a relationship, which is impossible if you see one doctor at one appointment and somebody else at the next.
What you can do
Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time your appointment is made, be sure to ask if there is anything you need to do in advance to prepare for common diagnostic tests such as taking with you a urine sample, will you need to fast for any of the blood tests or do you need to stop taking medication before you have tests.
Write down all symptoms and changes you are experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to each other. Write down also the signs you are showing (these are differences in your body that you can see).
Write down key personal information, including any recent life changes or a noticeable difference in your ability to tolerate stress.
Write down the members of your family who have a thyroid disorder or an autoimmune disease.
Make a list of your key medical information, including recent surgical procedures, the names of all medications you’re taking and any other conditions for which you’ve been treated. Write down also if you have been involved in a car accident that involved any whiplash injury.
Take your partner, a family member or a friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot so it is often a good idea for either you or them to have a notepad and pen to take down any notes..
Write down questions to ask the endocrinologist.
Create a list of questions ahead of your appointment so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition temporary or chronic?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- Can I have a choice of treatment if the one you recommend doesnt work for me?
- How long will I need to take medications?
- How will you monitor whether my treatment is working?
- Under what circumstances might my medications need to be adjusted?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Is there any printed material that I can take home with me?
- What Web sites do you recommend sufferers should visit to find further information? (This could be an interesting question).
- Do you know of any thyroid patient groups I could join for support.
There will be lots of other questions you need to ask him/her so add these to your list and during your consultation, if there is anything you dont understand, dont hesitate to ask for an explanation.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions so being prepared before you see him will be of great help to you as this may reserve time to go over any particularly important points you feel the need to spend more time on.
Your doctor may ask:
- What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- How have your symptoms changed over time?
- Has your appearance changed, including your weight or the amount of your body hair?
- Have you lost interest in sex? If you’re a woman, has your menstrual cycle changed?
- Are you currently being treated or have you recently been treated for any other medical conditions?
- Have you recently had a baby?
- Have you had any recent head injuries or have you had neurosurgery?
- Have any of your family members been diagnosed with thyroid disease, hormonal or autoimmune conditions?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?