If your family doctor or general practitioner suspects Takayasu's arteritis, you will likely be referred to one or more specialists for diagnosis and treatment. Takayasu's arteritis is a rare disorder that can be difficult to diagnose and treat. If your case is very serious, you may want to talk with your doctor about a referral to a medical center that specializes in treating vasculitis.
Because appointments can be brief and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it can help to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet or your use of certain vitamins or medications.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to arteritis. Symptoms of Takayasu's arteritis, especially in the early stages, are similar to those of a number of other illnesses, so it's important that your doctor knows what you're experiencing.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking. Even better, take the original bottles or a written list of the dosages and directions.
- Take a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided 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 can help you make the most of your time together. For Takayasu's arteritis, 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 do I need?
- Is my condition likely temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available? Which do you recommend for me?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any dietary or activity restrictions that I need to follow?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- What if I can't or don't want to take steroids?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take 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 additional questions.
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 points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
March 13, 2013
- When did you first start having symptoms?
- Do you have your symptoms all the time, or do they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Takayasu's arteritis. Vasculitis Foundation. http://staging.vasculitisfoundation.org/education/forms/takayasus-arteritis/ Accessed Jan. 22, 2013.
- Imboden JB, et al. Current Rheumatology Diagnosis & Treatment. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=38. Accessed Jan. 22, 2013.
- Minagar A, et al. Neurologic presentations of systemic vasculitides. Neurology Clinics. 2010;28:171.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Jan. 22, 2013.
- Takayasu's arteritis. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/takayasusartritis.asp. Accessed Jan. 22, 2013.
- Mandal D, et al. Takayasu arteritis in pregnancy: An analysis from eastern India. Archives in Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2012;285:567.
- Ohigashi H, et al. Improved prognosis of Takayasu arteritis over the past decade. Circulation Journal. 2012;76:1004.
- Schmidt J, et al. Tumor necrosis factor inhibitors in patients with Takayasu arteritis: Experience from a referral center with long-term follow-up. Arthritis Care and Research. 2012;64:1079.
- Comarmond C, et al. Anti TNF-alpha in refractory Takayasu's arteritis: Cases series and review of the literature. Autoimmunity Reviews 2012;11:678.
- Salvarani C, et al. Tocilizumab:A novel therapy for patients with large-vessel vasculitis. Rheumatology. 2012;51:151.
- Shields RC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., Feb. 10, 2013.