You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to an endocrinologist.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- 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 or supplements that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to recall all 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.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For Addison's disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home 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 any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
Dec. 04, 2012
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Adrenal insufficiency and Addison's disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Health and Kidney Disease. http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/addison/addison.aspx. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Chakera AJ. Addison disease in adults: Diagnosis and management. The American Journal of Medicine. 2010;123:409.
- McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nieman LK. Clinical manifestations of adrenal insufficiency in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Adrenal diseases — Addison's disease. National Adrenal Diseases Foundation. http://www.nadf.us/diseases/addisons.htm. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nieman LK. Treatment of adrenal insufficiency in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nieman LK. Causes of primary adrenal insufficiency in adults (Addison's disease). http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nieman LK. Diagnosis of primary adrenal insufficiency in adults (Addison's disease). http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 18, 2012.