Although your symptoms may prompt you to visit your family doctor or a general practitioner, you'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in diseases of the digestive system (gastroenterologist) to diagnose and treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. You also may be referred to an oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, let your doctor's staff know if you take any medications. Certain acid-reducing drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors, can alter the results of some tests used to diagnose Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. However, don't stop taking these medications without consulting your doctor.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes. Also write down what you know of your family's medical history.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
For Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, some basic questions to ask include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Other than Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, are there any other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What tests do I need to confirm the diagnosis? How should I prepare for those tests?
- What is the standard treatment for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome?
- Are there any other options?
- What course of action do you recommend?
- Are there dietary restrictions I need to follow?
- Do I need to see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative for the medication you're prescribing for me?
- Are there websites you recommend to learn more about Zollinger-Ellison syndrome?
- Are any other medical problems more likely to occur because I have Zollinger-Ellison syndrome?
- How often do I need to come back for follow-up appointments?
- What's my prognosis?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
Oct. 11, 2012
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous, or do they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, improves your symptoms?
- What, if anything, worsens your symptoms?
- Have you ever been told you have a stomach ulcer? How was it diagnosed?
- Have you or has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I?
- Have you or has anyone in your family been diagnosed with parathyroid, thyroid or pituitary problems?
- Have you ever been told you have high blood calcium?
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/zollinger. Accessed July 28, 2012.
- How is cancer of the pancreas diagnosed? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/PancreaticCancer/DetailedGuide/pancreatic-cancer-diagnosis. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Greenberger NJ, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Endoscopy. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=55957153. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Metz DC, et al. Gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors: Pancreatic endocrine tumors. Gastroenterology. 2008;135:1469.
- Nauramy O, et al. Gastric acid hypersecretory states: Recent insights and advances. Current Gastroenterology Reports. 2009;11:433.
- 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 Aug.7, 2012.
- FDA Drug Safety Communication: Possible increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine with the use of proton pump inhibitors. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm213206.htm. Accessed Aug. 7, 2012.
- Miller LJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 10, 2012.