Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor. He or she may refer you to a specialist in the lungs (pulmonologist), ear, nose, and throat (otolaryngologist), or kidneys (nephrologist). Unless your primary care doctor has some experience with granulomatosis with polyangiitis, you likely won't receive a diagnosis until you're seen by a specialist.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

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.

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if you need to do anything in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • If you've had any recent blood tests or chest X-rays at another medical office or hospital, ask the staff to forward the test results and any X-rays to the doctor you're about to see. Or pick up the material yourself to be sure it gets to your new doctor.
  • List any symptoms you're experiencing, including those that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • List key personal medical information, including other recent health problems, major stresses you've had, and all medications, vitamins and supplements you're taking.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend with you to the appointment. Someone who accompanies you can help remember what the doctor says.
  • Get a referral, if necessary. Some insurance companies require referrals for visits to specialists. If you're being referred to a specialist, be sure a letter of referral has been sent to the doctor, or bring it with you.
  • List questions to ask your doctor.

For the signs and symptoms of granulomatosis with polyangiitis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms? What are other possible causes?
  • What kinds of tests will I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • Is my condition temporary?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • What side effects can I expect from the treatment?
  • What are alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • How long will treatment last?
  • I have another medical condition. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Do I need to see a specialist? Will I need a referral?
  • Will I need to take medications? If so, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed materials that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • Do you know of any support groups nearby?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • Have you taken your temperature? If so, what was it?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

What you can do in the meantime

If your symptoms are getting worse, tell your primary care doctor so that he or she can try to get you to a specialist quickly.

Dec. 22, 2015
References
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