You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. Depending on his or her findings, your doctor may refer you to an infectious disease specialist.
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.
- 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 travel to other countries, major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that 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. List your questions from most important to least important. For Chagas disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other 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?
- Is my family likely to be infected?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
Also, don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
Jun. 11, 2011
- 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?
- Have you lived anywhere, such as Mexico, where the triatomine bug or Chagas disease is common?
- Chagas disease: Detailed FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/detailed.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Bern C. Epidemiology and control of Chagas disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Bern C, et al. Evaluation and treatment of Chagas disease in the United States: A systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;298:2171.
- Yacoub S, et al. Neglected tropical cardiomyopathies: I. Chagas disease. Heart. 2008;94:244.
- Milei J, et al. Prognostic impact of Chagas disease in the United States. American Heart Journal. 2009;157:22.
- Rosenthal PJ. Protozoal & helminthic infections. In: McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2011. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=778139. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Rassi Jr. A, et al. Chagas disease. The Lancet. 2010;375:1388.