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
- 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.
- 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 Chagas disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Am I contagious? Are others who traveled with me likely infected?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
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- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Have you lived or traveled anywhere, such as Mexico, where the triatomine bug or Chagas disease is common?
- Rassi Jr A, et al. American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease). Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. 2012;26:275.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed March 11, 2014.
- Ribeiro AL, et al. Diagnosis and management of Chagas disease and cardiomyopathy. Nature Reviews Cardiology. 2012;9:576.
- Chagas disease: Detailed FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/detailed.html. Accessed March 12, 2014.
- Beryn C, et al. Trypanosoma cruzi and Chagas' Disease in the United States. Clinical Microbiology Review. 2011;24:655.
- Beryn C. Chagas disease: Management of acute disease, early chronic disease, and disease in immunocompromised hosts. http:www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2014.