Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you have signs and symptoms that cause concern, start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. If your doctor suspects you may have a kidney problem, such as nephrotic syndrome, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in the kidneys (nephrologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

Before your appointment:

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • Write down symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • 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.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along, to help you remember all the information provided during the appointment.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Preparing a list of questions ahead of time can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For nephrotic syndrome, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my nephrotic syndrome?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is this condition likely temporary, or will I always have it?
  • What are my treatment options? And which do you recommend for me?
  • What are the risks and benefits of each treatment?
  • Are there changes I can make to my diet to help me feel better? Could a dietitian help me?
  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
  • How do I know when I need to plan for a follow-up visit? Are there any symptoms that suggest I should call for advice right away?

In addition to the questions that you prepare ahead of time, don't hesitate to ask other questions that occur to you during your visit.

What to expect from your doctor

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

  • When did you first notice your symptoms?
  • Do your symptoms come and go, or do you have them all the time?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
Dec. 18, 2014