You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases, you may be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in the body's hormone-secreting glands (endocrinologist). If you have eye involvement, you may also be referred to an eye doctor (ophthalmologist).
It's good to prepare for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance.
- 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 or supplements you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember information you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For hyperthyroidism, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What tests do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- What is the best course of action?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Do you have brochures or other printed material I can take? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask any other relevant questions you have.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
Nov. 20, 2012
- When did you begin having symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, makes your symptoms worse?
- Do other members of your family have thyroid disease?
- Hyperthyroidism. The American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/what-is-hyperthyroidism. Accessed July 17, 2012.
- Soetters MR, et al. Optimal management of Graves orbitopathy: A multidisciplinary approach. The Netherlands Journal of Medicine. 2011;69:302.
- Brandt F, et al. A critical review and meta-analysis of the association between overt hyperthyroidism and mortality. European Journal of Endocrinology. 2011;165:491.
- Graves' disease. Womenshealth.gov. http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/graves-disease.cfm. Accessed July 17, 2012.
- Hyperthyroidism. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec12/ch152/ch152e.html. Accessed July 25, 2012.
- Graves' disease. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service. http://www.endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/graves/Graves.pdf. Accessed July 25, 2012.
- Hyperthyroidism. National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service. http://www.endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/hyperthyroidism/index.aspx. Accessed July 25, 2012.
- Dietary Reference Intakes for calcium and vitamin D. Institute of Medicine. http://www.iom.edu/vitamind. Accessed July 17, 2012.
- Bahn RS, et al. Hyperthyroidism and other causes of thyrotoxicosis: Management guidelines of the American Thyroid Association and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Thyroid. 2011;21:593.
- Thyroid problems. Hormone Health Network. http://www.hormone.org/thyroid_problems.cfm. Accessed July 26, 2012.
- Stan MN, et al. The evaluation and treatment of Graves ophthalmopathy. Medical Clinics of North America. 2012;96:311.
- Schwartz KM, et al. Dermopathy of Grave's disease (pretibial myxedema): Long-term outcome. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2002;77:438.
- Nippoldt TB (expert opinon). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 14, 2012.