Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or primary care provider, who may eventually refer you to someone who specializes in blood vessel diseases (cardiologist).

What you can do

To make the most of your appointment, come prepared with information and questions for your doctor.

  • 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 whether you've ever smoked, and how many packs a day, or if you've had repetitive trauma to your hands or feet, such as from using a jackhammer or other vibrating tools.
  • Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
  • Take a family member or 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.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best treatment?
  • 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? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist? (You may need to check with your insurance provider for this information.)
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

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 may ask:

  • When did you 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?
  • Do you use tobacco in any form now or have you ever used it?
  • Do your fingers change color in response to cold?
  • Have you had repetitive trauma to the affected area from tools?
Feb. 01, 2013