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When You Visit Your Doctor - Mitral Valve Prolapse

Updated January 27, 2017

Mitral Valve Prolapse

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Have you had an echocardiogram?
  • What did it show?
  • Does your mitral valve leak?
  • Do you get chest pain?
  • What brings it on?
  • How long does it last?
  • What relieves it?
  • Do you ever get a rapid or pounding heartbeat (palpitations) for no reason?
  • How long does it last?
  • Do you feel faint or develop chest pain or shortness of breath?
  • Have you ever fainted?
  • Do you get short of breath when you lie down or exert yourself?
  • Have you ever taken any medications for your heart?
  • Did you develop any side effects from these medications?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Heart rate, blood pressure, and weight
  • Heart (sometimes while you are standing, squatting, or performing other maneuvers)
  • Lungs

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Osteoarthritis

Updated January 30, 2017

Osteoarthritis

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • How long have you had painful joints?
  • Which joints are involved and which are most painful?
  • Is the pain worse or better after walking or other exercise?
  • Does the pain wake you at night?
  • Does it occur at rest?
  • Do you have swelling or deformities in any joints?
  • What activities can you no longer do because of the arthritis?
  • How long ago did you stop doing them?
  • How far can you walk?
  • Do you have difficulty opening jars or grasping objects?
  • Do you have any other conditions, such as heart or lung disease, that also limit your ability to function?
  • What have you done to treat your osteoarthritis?
  • What therapies help the most?
  • Do you use a cane (for osteoarthritis of the knee or hip)?
  • What medications do you take (over-the-counter and prescription) to treat the pain?
  • How effective are they?
  • Do you know the side effects of each medication?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Joint examination
  • Muscles
  • Gait

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Blood tests if your symptoms are atypical for osteoarthritis
  • X-rays of the involved joints
  • CT scans of the involved joints
  • MRI scans of the involved joints
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Multiple Sclerosis

Updated January 27, 2017

Multiple Sclerosis

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you have cloudy or double vision?
  • Do you ever have eye pain or involuntary jumping of your vision?
  • Do you have problems with clumsiness or poor coordination?
  • Have you ever had numbness or tingling in your arms or legs? Tremors?
  • Do you ever have hearing loss or vertigo?
  • Do you have difficulty concentrating or problems with memory loss?
  • Do you have any problems with bladder or bowel control?
  • Do you have constipation?
  • Do you have any family history of multiple sclerosis?
  • Are you taking any medications?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Complete neurological exam focusing on reflexes, strength, gait, sensation, and vision

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Lumbar puncture for removal and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Parkinson's Disease

Updated January 30, 2017

Parkinson's Disease

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you have a tremor of the hands at rest?
  • Have you noticed a slowing of your movements?
  • Do you have a stooped posture or a slow, shuffling gait?
  • Are you becoming more unsteady?
  • Are your muscles becoming more rigid?
  • Have you noticed your handwriting is getting smaller?
  • Do you have any problems with speech?
  • Are you depressed?
  • Do you have problems with memory, concentration, or problem-solving?
  • Do you have a family history of Parkinson'’s disease?
  • Are you taking any medications?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Complete neurological exam focusing on gait, muscle tone, strength, and vision
  • Mini Mental Status Exam (to test memory and concentration)

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • The diagnosis is made based on medical history and physical exam
  • SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography)
  • Response to drug treatment, such as a trial of levodopa
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Peptic Ulcer Disease

Updated January 30, 2017

Peptic Ulcer Disease

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you have diffuse or localized abdominal pain?
  • Does the pain ever travel to the back or chest?
  • Do you have nausea associated with the pain?
  • Does eating make the pain better or worse?
  • Do you have black or bloody stools?
  • Do you ever vomit blood or material that looks like coffee grounds?
  • Do you take any medications (for example, pain relievers)?
  • Do you smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol?
  • Do you drink caffeine-containing beverages?
  • Have you ever been tested or treated for a bacteria called H. pylori that can infect the stomach lining?
  • Do you have a family history of peptic ulcer disease?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Careful abdominal exam
  • Rectal exam

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Stool testing for blood
  • Blood or breath test for the presence of H. pylori
  • Upper endoscopy (internal examination of esophagus, stomach, and duodenum)
  • Upper GI series
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Peripheral Artery Disease

Updated January 30, 2017

Peripheral Artery Disease

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you develop pain, cramps, aches, fatigue, or numbness in your leg muscles when you walk?
  • At what distance do you develop symptoms?
  • Do they go away when you stop walking?
  • Do you ever develop these symptoms at rest?
  • Do you have decreased sensation in your feet?
  • If you are a man, do you have erectile dysfunction?
  • Are you doing everything possible to modify the risk factors that can worsen this disease (smoking cessation, treating elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, and controlling diabetes)?
  • Are you exercising regularly and at progressively more strenuous levels?
  • Are you taking an aspirin every day?
  • If you have diabetes, do you practice meticulous foot care (cleaning, applying moisturizing lotions, and wearing well-fitting protective shoes)?
  • Do you know when to seek emergency medical care for peripheral artery disease (if your leg becomes suddenly painful, pale, cold and numb)?
  • Do you get chest pain or pressure with exertion or at rest? If so, you may have coronary artery disease.
  • Do you have sudden brief episodes of blindness (like a shade being pulled over your eyes) or sudden episodes of weakness in an arm or leg, or difficulty speaking? These could be warning symptoms of stroke.

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Heart rate, blood pressure, and weight
  • Pulses in your feet and groin, and behind your knees
  • Listen with the stethoscope over your carotid arteries in your neck
  • Heart and lungs
  • Neurologic exam (reflexes and sensation in your legs)
  • Muscles (looking for atrophy in leg muscles)
  • Skin, looking for changes related to reduced circulation

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Blood tests, including glucose and cholesterol levels
  • Ultrasound of your carotid arteries
  • Doppler Ankle-Arm Indices
  • Exercise Stress Test
  • MRI/MRA
  • Angiography
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Rash

Updated January 30, 2017

Rash

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • How long have you had the rash?
  • Where did it start?
  • Has it spread?
  • Is the rash only on parts of your skin that have been exposed to the sun?
  • Does it itch or hurt?
  • Is the rash red, pink, or purple?
  • Is the rash smooth or bumpy?
  • Have you had sores in your mouth, eyes, or other mucous membranes?
  • Have you had blisters on your skin?
  • Have you had trouble breathing?
  • Have you had a fever?
  • Have you symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection (for example, a cold)?
  • Have you had vomiting or diarrhea?
  • Are you taking any prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbs, or supplements? Did you start any of them in the past two months?
  • Have you had any new exposures to foods or chemicals?
  • Any exposure to insects?
  • Have you had any recent sun exposure?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Temperature
  • Examination of your skin, mouth, eyes, mucous membranes, lymph nodes, liver, and spleen

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Skin scrapings for microscopic analysis or culture (if the rash looks infectious)
  • Complete blood cell count or other blood tests (if you appear sick or have a fever)
  • Skin biopsy
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Sarcoidosis

Updated January 30, 2017

Sarcoidosis

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Have you had difficulty breathing? For how long? How far can you walk without feeling winded?
  • Do you ever have chest pain or tightness? If yes, is it related to activity?
  • Have you had a persistent cough? If yes, is your cough dry or do you produce sputum?
  • Do you suffer from fatigue or malaise?
  • Have you had any fevers?
  • Have you recently lost weight? If so, how much?
  • Do you have pain in your joints, bones, or muscles?
  • Have you noticed any lumps in your neck, armpits, or groin?
  • Have you noticed any rashes or changes in your skin?
  • Have you had blurry vision or watery eyes?
  • Have you ever had red or painful eyes or a past diagnosis of uveitis?
  • Do you smoke cigarettes?
  • Have you had an abnormal chest x-ray in the past?
  • Do you have a family history of sarcoidosis?
  • Are you taking any medications?
  • Have you ever been on steroids or any other treatment for you sarcoidosis?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, heart rate
  • Heart and lung exam
  • Joint exam
  • Skin exam
  • Lymph node exam

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Plain chest x-ray
  • Chest CT scan
  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Bronchoscopy with lung biopsy
  • Blood tests
  • Formal eye exam
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

Updated January 30, 2017

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • With each of the bladder or urinary tract infections that you have you had, as far back as you can remember:
    • What were the dates of each?
    • Was a urine culture done to prove you had an infection?
    • What treatment was given, and how quickly did you get better?
    • Did you have a fever, pain in your back, or nausea and vomiting?
  • Have you ever been told that you have abnormalities in the way your kidneys or bladder, or the tubes connecting them, are built?
  • Do you frequently develop bladder or urinary tract infections after sexual intercourse?
  • Do you have any chronic medical problems (for example, diabetes or neurological disease)?
  • Are you on any antibiotics to prevent recurrent bladder or urinary tract infections? If so, which one?
  • If you are a woman, what type of contraception do you use (for example, a diaphragm, spermicide)?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Abdominal exam
  • Genital exam
  • Back exam for the presence of tenderness in the area of the kidneys

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Clean-catch urine specimen for urinalysis and culture
  • Ultrasound of the bladder
  • Full pelvic/renal ultrasound
  • Abdominal CT scan
  • Cystourethrogram
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Shingles

Updated January 30, 2017

Shingles

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you have a history of chicken pox?
  • Does your skin hurt, itch, or feel numb?
  • Is the pain sharp, dull, or piercing? How long have you had it?
  • Do you have a rash? If so, for how long?
  • Is the rash in more than one place on your skin?
  • Is the rash on one side of your body only?
  • Has the rash at any time looked like small blisters?
  • Do you still have pain even if the rash is gone?
  • What triggers the pain (for example, a light touch)?
  • Do your symptoms interfere with your ability to sleep or perform activities of daily living?
  • Are you taking any medications?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Skin exam almost always confirms the diagnosis

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Skin scraping to examine under the microscope, or for viral culture, immunofluorescence, or polymerase chain reaction testing (rarely needed)
 

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