Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases, your doctor may refer you immediately to a neurologist.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For ataxia, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What is the best course of action?
  • Are there devices that can help me with coordination?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • Can I participate in any research studies related to ataxia?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Are your symptoms continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What seems to worsen your symptoms?
  • Do you have family members who have had these types of symptoms?
  • Do you use alcohol or drugs?
  • Have you been exposed to toxins?
  • Have you had a virus recently?

What you can do in the meantime

Don't drink alcohol or take recreational drugs, which can make your ataxia worse.

Mar. 29, 2014