Preparing for your appointment

Because a low platelet count may not cause symptoms, the problem is often discovered when you have a blood test for another reason. In order to diagnose idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, your doctor is likely to order further blood tests that require drawing a small amount of blood from a vein in an arm. He or she may also refer you to a specialist in blood diseases (hematologist).

What you can do

Here are some steps you can take to get ready for your appointment:

  • List any symptoms you're experiencing, including those that seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • List key personal information, including major stresses, life changes, and recent illnesses or medical procedures, such as a blood transfusion.
  • List all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking, including doses. Note whether you've recently used antibiotics, tonic water, herbal preparations and heparin, which can be linked to thrombocytopenia.
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you. It addition to offering support, he or she can write down information from your doctor or other clinic staff during the appointment.
  • List questions to ask your doctor. Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together.

For ITP some questions you may want to ask include:

  • How many platelets do I have in my blood?
  • Is my platelet count dangerously low?
  • What is causing my ITP?
  • Do I need more tests?
  • Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
  • What treatments are available, and what do you recommend?
  • What will happen if I do nothing?
  • What are the possible side effects of the treatments you're suggesting?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?