Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to an endocrinologist, who specializes in diabetes, among other disorders, or a cardiologist, who specializes in heart disease.

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 some information to help you get ready 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, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance. This might include restricting your diet, such as for a fasting blood sugar test or a cholesterol test.
  • 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. If you're monitoring your blood sugar or blood pressure at home, bring a record of the results, detailing the dates and times of testing.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Record your family medical history. In particular, note any relatives who have had diabetes, heart attacks or strokes.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to recall all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor. Be clear about aspects of your diabetes or blood pressure management that you need clarification on.

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 metabolic syndrome, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Are the symptoms I'm experiencing now related to metabolic syndrome or another condition?
  • What kinds of tests do I need to best manage my conditions?
  • What else can I do to protect my health?
  • What are other options to manage the conditions causing metabolic syndrome?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Should I see another specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
  • What websites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms that concerned you about the possibility that you have diabetes, high blood pressure or abnormal cholesterol levels?
  • Do you have a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or abnormal cholesterol levels?
Apr. 05, 2013