If you have signs or symptoms of aplastic anemia, start by making an appointment with your family doctor or a general practitioner. If your doctor suspects aplastic anemia, you'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in treating blood disorders (hematologist). If aplastic anemia comes on suddenly, you may begin treatment in the emergency room.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and 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.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent life changes, such as a new job, particularly one that exposes you to chemicals.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Ask a family member or a friend to stay with you while you talk to your doctor. You may be tired or overwhelmed by all the information. A friend or a family member can take notes for you, or bring up questions you may forget to ask.
- Write down questions you want to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions ahead of time can help you make the most of your time together. For aplastic anemia, 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's my prognosis?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have another health condition. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take 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, such as:
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- Have you had any infections?
- Have you had any unexpected bleeding?
- Have you felt more tired than usual?
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Is there anything new in your life, such as a new job or a new medication?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- Does anything appear to worsen your symptoms?
- Aplastic anemia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/aplastic/. Accessed Sept. 14, 2013.
- Lichtman MA, et al. Williams Hematology. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=69. Accessed Sept. 14, 2013.
- Schrier SL. Aplastic anemia: Prognosis and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 14, 2013.