Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You don't need to make any special preparations for a doctor appointment to diagnose deep vein thrombosis.

Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be 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 deep vein thrombosis.
  • Write down key personal information, especially if you have a family history of blood-clotting disorders.
  • 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.
  • Be prepared to discuss if you've been seated for long periods of time recently, such as traveling by car or plane. Also, if you're planning to travel and are concerned about your deep vein thrombosis risk, tell your doctor about your travel plans.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For deep vein thrombosis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
  • What are other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
  • What kinds of tests will I need?
  • What's the best treatment?
  • What's an appropriate level of physical activity for me now that I've been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis? What about once my clot is gone?
  • Will I need to restrict my physical activity or travel plans?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • 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 is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have you been inactive lately, such as sitting or lying down for long periods?
  • 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 have a family history of health problems related to blood clots?

What you can do in the meantime

Before your appointment, you can begin some self-care measures, including:

  • Using warm compresses. You can use a warm washcloth as a compress on the affected area.
  • Elevating your leg. Raising your leg may help with any discomfort.

If you decide to take any pain-relieving medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) or naproxen (Aleve), be sure to tell your doctor. These medications can interact with other blood-thinning medications your doctor prescribes.

Jan. 19, 2013