Preparing for your appointment

If your primary care doctor suspects you have Takayasu's arteritis, he or she may refer you to one or more specialists with experience in helping people with this condition. Takayasu's arteritis is a rare disorder that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.

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 because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, ask if you need to do anything in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • List any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • List key personal information, including major stresses and recent life changes.
  • List all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking, including doses.
  • Ask a family member or friend to come with you. In addition to offering support, he or she can write down information from your doctor or other clinic staff during the appointment.
  • List questions to ask your doctor. Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together.

For Takayasu's arteritis, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need? Do they require any special preparation?
  • Is my condition temporary or long lasting?
  • What are my treatment options, and which do you recommend?
  • I have another medical condition. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Do I need to change my diet or restrict my activities in any way?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
  • What if I can't or don't want to take steroids?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor will likely ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • 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, seems to worsen your symptoms?