Making an appointment with your primary care doctor or a neurologist is a great way to begin to understand what’s causing your symptoms and to take charge of your health. The following information is meant to guide you or a loved one in preparing for an upcoming appointment.

Prepare in advance.

Take the time to gather and write down information and questions that will help you throughout the appointment.

  • List your symptoms. Be prepared to share with your doctor a list of symptoms you’ve been experiencing and take note of when you first noticed them. Note what body parts are affected, along with any triggers that may be causing your symptoms to worsen or make it harder to perform daily activities.
  • Provide personal information and medical history. Inform your doctor of your medical history, including any other conditions that you face. Let your doctor know what medications, supplements or vitamins you take. Tell your doctor about your family’s medical history, especially if movement disorders such as essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease have affected any family members. You can also mention any recent life changes or stressors that may be impacting your health.
  • Write down questions in advance. Make a list of questions beforehand that you can ask your doctor. Preparing a list ahead of time can help ensure you leave feeling comfortable and confident in your health plan. Questions you might ask include:
    • What tests are available to help determine a diagnosis?
    • What possible causes could be leading to my symptoms?
    • Are there any restrictions I should be mindful of, considering my other health conditions?
    • How can I best manage my symptoms?
    • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to reduce my symptoms or make daily activities easier?  What about therapies or exercises?
    • How might this condition progress over time?
    • Are there any medications I should avoid?
    • What are my treatment options and which do you recommend for my situation?
    • Are there any side effects or risks associated with those options?
    • What support is available to me or my family?
    • Should I schedule a follow-up appointment?

Bring support.

Have a loved one join you at your appointment to support you, help you ask questions and assist in collecting important information from your doctor. Make sure they know your personal priorities for the appointment and invite them to ask questions of their own.

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