If you have signs and symptoms common to Churg-Strauss syndrome, make an appointment with your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment significantly improves the outlook of this condition.
If your primary care doctor suspects Churg-Strauss syndrome, you will likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in disorders that cause blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis), such as a rheumatologist or immunologist.
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 this appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet. Also ask if you need to stay at your doctor's office for observation following your tests.
- Write down all your symptoms and how long they've been present — even those that seem unrelated to your main problem. Churg-Strauss syndrome can cause symptoms throughout your body and not always in a classic order. It's important that your doctor know exactly what you experienced and when.
Gather your key medical information, including other conditions with which you've been diagnosed and the names of all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking. If possible, take along all of your medications in their original bottles.
If you have seen other doctors for your symptoms before this visit, it would help to bring along a letter summarizing their findings. Taking a copy of your previous chest X-ray or sinus X-ray also could be very helpful.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
- Take a family member or friend along. Churg-Strauss syndrome is a complicated disorder, and it can be helpful to have another person who can help remember something that you forgot or missed.
- Write down questions that you want to ask your doctor.
For signs and symptoms common to Churg-Strauss syndrome, some basic questions to ask include:
- What's the most likely cause of my condition?
- Are there any other possible causes for my condition?
- What diagnostic tests do I need?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- How much do you expect my symptoms to improve with treatment?
- How long will I need to take medications?
- Am I at risk of complications from this condition, or from the medications used to treat it?
- What steps can I take to minimize medication side effects?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help reduce or manage my symptoms?
- How often will you see me for follow-up tests?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions at any time that you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
A doctor who sees you for possible Churg-Strauss syndrome is likely to ask a number of questions, such as:
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- What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- Have your symptoms gotten worse over time?
- Do your symptoms include shortness of breath?
- Do your symptoms include sinus problems?
- Do your symptoms include any gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea?
- Have you lost weight without trying?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions, including allergies or asthma?
- If you have allergies or asthma, when were you first diagnosed?
- What medications have you taken to help manage your other conditions, and for how long?
- Have your other conditions been getting worse or more difficult to manage?
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- King TE Jr. Treatment and prognosis of Churg-Strauss syndrome of eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Churg-Strauss). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 21, 2013.