People with moderate to severe forms of thalassemia are usually diagnosed within the first two years of life. If you've noticed some of the signs and symptoms of thalassemia in your infant or child, see your family doctor or pediatrician. You may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in blood disorders (hematologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
- List any symptoms your child is experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- List your child's key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes. Ask family members if anyone on either side of the family has ever had thalassemia, and let your doctor know if anyone has.
- List of all medications, vitamins and supplements that your child is taking, including doses.
- List questions to ask your doctor.
For thalassemia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my child's symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests are needed?
- What treatments are available?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- What are the most common side effects from each treatment?
- How can this best be managed with other health conditions?
- Are there any dietary restrictions to follow? Do you recommend any nutritional supplements?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed material that I can take? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask additional questions that come up during your appointment.
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:
- Do you know if anyone in your family has thalassemia?
- In what part of the world did your family originate?
- When did you first notice your symptoms?
- Do your symptoms occur all the time or do they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?