You're likely to first see your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor trained in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
Because there's often a lot to discuss, it's a good idea to prepare 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
- 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 and supplements that you're taking.
- Ask a family member or friend to come with you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of 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.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your time together. For Parkinson's disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- How does Parkinson's disease usually progress?
- Will I eventually need long-term care?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend for me?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- If the treatment doesn't work or stops working, do I have additional options?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any restrictions on my activity?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
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 that you don't understand something.
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:
May. 28, 2014
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- Parkinson's disease: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/parkinsons_disease/parkinsons_disease.htm. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.
- Chou KL. Clinical manifestations of Parkinson disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.
- Jankovic J. Etiology and pathogenesis of Parkinson disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.
- Chou KL. Diagnosis of Parkinson disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.
- Tarsy D. Pharmacologic treatment of Parkinson disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.
- Tarsy D. Surgical treatment of Parkinson disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.
- Tarsy D. Nonpharmacologic management of Parkinson disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/. Accessed Aug. 8, 2013.
- Ahlskog JE. Does vigorous exercise have a neuroprotective effect in Parkinson disease? Neurology. 2011;77:288.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com/. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Parkinson's disease: Fitness counts. National Parkinson Foundation. http://www.parkinson.org/Search-Pages/Search.aspx?pKeywords=fitness. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Mischley LY, et al. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency in patients with Parkinson's disease. Journal of the Neurological Sciences. 2012;318:72.
- Li F., et al. Tai chi and postural stability in patients with Parkinson's disease. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;366:511.
- Complementary therapies and Parkinson's. Parkinson's Disease Society of the United Kingdom. http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/content/complementary-therapies-and-parkinsons-booklet. Accessed Aug. 12, 2013.
- Riggin EA. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 13, 2013.
- Saliva gland test for Parkinson's shows promise, study finds. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2013-sct/7249.html. Accessed Aug. 15, 2013.
- Ahlskog JE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 5, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.