Preparing for your appointment

You might start by seeing your primary care provider. He or she may refer you to a doctor trained in brain and nervous system conditions (neurologist) or a speech-language pathologist.

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
  • Key personal information, including major stresses, recent life changes and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins and supplements you take, including doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help with communication and to help you remember the information you receive.

For primary progressive aphasia, some questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing my symptoms?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • What's the best course of action?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach you're suggesting?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there restrictions I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend? 

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

What happens during your appointment will vary depending on the type of doctor you see. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
Jan. 05, 2016
References
  1. Primary progressive aphasia. National Aphasia Association. http://www.aphasia.org/aphasia-resources/primary-progressive-aphasia/. Accessed Oct. 18, 2015.
  2. Lee SE, et al. Frontotemporal dementia: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 18, 2015.
  3. Leger GC, et al. A review on primary progressive aphasia. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2007;3:745.
  4. Kirshner HS. Frontotemporal dementia and primary progressive aphasia, a review. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2014;10:1045.
  5. Mesulam M, et al. Primary progressive aphasia and the evolving neurology of the language network. Nature Reviews Neurology. 2014;10:554.
  6. Rogalski EJ, et al. Association between the prevalence of learning disabilities and primary progressive aphasia. JAMA Neurology. 2014;71:1576.
  7. Masulam M. Primary progressive aphasia. Dementia & Neuropsychologia. 2013;7:2.
  8. Family adjustment to aphasia. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/FamilyAdjustmentAphasia/. Accessed Oct. 20, 2015.