Dysarthria requires prompt medical attention. See a doctor right away if you experience sudden or unexplained changes in your ability to speak clearly. You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner who will ask about your symptoms, do an initial physical examination and review the medications you're taking. If your doctor suspects that an underlying medical condition is causing your symptoms, he or she will likely refer you to a nervous system specialist (neurologist) for further evaluation.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's what you can do to get ready for your appointment, as well as what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. Ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- 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 any 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. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- 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 dysarthria, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Is dysarthria the likely cause of my symptoms?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment anytime you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
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- 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?
- Dysarthria. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/dysarthria/. Accessed Feb. 27, 2012.
- Goetz CG. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:79.
- Dysarthria: Causes and number. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/DysarthriaCauses.htm. Accessed Feb. 27, 2012.
- Treatment efficacy summary — Dysarthria (neurological motor speech impairment). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/EfficacySummaries/. Accessed Feb. 27, 2012.
- Cohen SM, et al. Palliative treatment of dysphonia and dysarthria. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2009;42:107.
- Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=54. Accessed Feb. 28, 2012.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Feb. 28, 2012.
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