Unless you're already under a specialist's care for a current medical condition, you'll probably start by seeing your family doctor or regular health care provider to begin evaluation for what could be causing your symptoms.
Here's some information to help you prepare 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 to prepare for common diagnostic tests.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of your key medical information, including any other conditions for which you're being treated, and the names of any medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Consider questions to ask your doctor and write them down. Bring along notepaper and a pen to jot down information as your doctor addresses your questions.
For edema, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What are the possible causes of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is my condition temporary?
- Will I need treatment?
- What treatments are available?
- I have other medical problems; will this treatment interfere with them?
- Do you have 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 or health care provider is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time for you and your doctor to review important points.
Questions your doctor might ask include:
Sept. 19, 2014
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- How long have you been experiencing these symptoms?
- Do your symptoms seem to come and go or are they always there?
- Have you had edema before?
- Does anything seem to make your symptoms better?
- Is there less swelling after a night's rest in bed?
- Does anything seem to make your symptoms worse?
- What kinds of foods do you regularly eat?
- Do you restrict your intake of salt and salty foods?
- Do you drink alcohol?
- Do you seem to be urinating normally?
- Do you notice swelling all over your body, or does it seem to be in just one area, such as an arm or leg?
- Does swelling diminish if you raise the swollen limb above heart level for an hour or so?
- Walsh D, et al. Palliative Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- Sterns RH. General principles of the treatment of edema in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Sterns RH. Patient information: Edema (swelling) (Beyond the Basics). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 18, 2014.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Tips for managing your edema. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2010.
- Trayes KP, et al. Edema: Diagnosis and management. American Family Physician. 2013;88:102.