You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor trained in nervous system disorders (neurologist).
To make the most of your appointment time, it's a good idea to arrive prepared. 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
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements 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.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For peripheral neuropathy, 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?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Are there alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Do I need to restrict any activities?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there brochures or other printed material 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, such as:
Aug. 13, 2013
- Do you have any underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease?
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Peripheral neuropathy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Peripheral neuropathy. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/peripheral_nervous_system_and_motor_unit_disorders/peripheral_neuropathy.html?qt=peripheral%20neuropathy&alt=sh. Accessed March 12, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=9148461. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Ropper AH, et al. Adams & Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3641268&searchStr=peripheral+neuropathy#3641268. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed March 19, 2013.
- Rutkove SB. Overview of polyneuropathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Feldman EL, et al. Treatment of diabetic neuropathy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 21, 2013.
- Neuropathic pain. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/pain/neuropathic_pain.html?qt=neuropathic%20pain&alt=sh. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Lewis R. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy: Treatment and prognosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Fridey JL, et al. Prescription and technique of therapeutic plasma exchange. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Dietary supplement fact sheet: Vitamin B12. Office of Dietary Supplements. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/. Accessed March 22, 2013.
- Dyck, PJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 26, 2013.
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