Start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. Most cases of thrombocytopenia can be managed by your family doctor. In certain situations, your doctor may recommend that you see a doctor who treats blood diseases (hematologist).
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 and 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.
- Write down any signs or symptoms you're experiencing, such as any unusual bruising or bleeding or any rashes. Include any symptoms that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent illnesses, major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb 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. List your questions from most important to least important, in case time runs out. For thrombocytopenia, some basic questions to ask include:
- How many platelets do I have in my blood?
- Is my platelet count dangerously low?
- What is causing my thrombocytopenia?
- Do I need more tests?
- Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
- Do I need treatment for my thrombocytopenia?
- What are my treatment options?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions at any time that you don't understand something.
Apr. 06, 2012
- Landaw SA, et al. Approach to the adult patient with thrombocytopenia. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- George JN. Evaluation and management of thrombocytopenia by primary care physicians. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
- Thrombocytopenia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/thcp/thcp_all.html. Accessed Jan. 18, 2012.
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