Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner when you first notice your symptoms. However, you'll probably be referred to a doctor who specializes in nervous system disorders (neurologist).

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

  • 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.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

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 post-polio syndrome, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests, if any, do I need? What will these tests tell you? What's involved in the test?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What treatments are available? Which do you recommend?
  • Are there alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there any activity restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Will I become incapacitated?
  • 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 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:

  • Have you ever had polio? If so, when?
  • How severe was your polio infection?
  • What areas of your body were affected by polio?
  • What types of symptoms are you now experiencing?
  • When did you first begin experiencing these symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • Does anything appear to worsen your symptoms?
Mar. 03, 2011