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When You Visit Your Doctor - Insomnia

Updated January 27, 2017

Insomnia

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Are you particularly stressed at work or at home?
  • Are you depressed or anxious?
  • Do you have any underlying medical problems such as hyperthyroidism or sleep apnea?
  • Do you snore?
  • Do you have chronic pain or difficulty breathing at night?
  • Do you have restlessness or twitching of your legs at night?
  • Do you drink caffeine-containing beverages after noon (such as coffee or sodas)?
  • Do you use stimulants? Drink alcohol? Take sedatives? Smoke cigarettes?
  • Do you take any medications?
  • What time do you usually go to bed?
  • What time do you get up in the morning?
  • Do you eat or work before going to bed?
  • Have you noticed changes in your sleep patterns?
  • Do you wake frequently at night?
  • Do you feel tired during the day?
  • How long do you stay in bed before you fall asleep?
  • Do you have worries about not sleeping?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Blood pressure, heart rate, weight
  • General physical exam

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Complete blood cell count
  • Thyroid function
  • Sleep study with monitoring of heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen level, eye movements, and brain waves
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Inguinal Hernia

Updated January 27, 2017

Inguinal Hernia

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you have pain in the lower abdomen or groin area?
  • Have you noticed a bulge in your lower abdomen or groin area?
  • Does lifting heavy objects, coughing, sneezing, or straining increase the size of the bulge?
  • Can you push the bulge back in?
  • Do you suffer from constipation?
  • Have you had bloody stools?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Careful abdominal exam
  • Groin exam (including testicular and scrotal exam in men)

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Stool sample
  • Abdominal/Pelvic ultrasound
  • Abdominal/Pelvic CT scan
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Updated January 27, 2017

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Do you have pain or cramping in the lower stomach?
  • How often do you get the pain?
  • Is the pain related to meals?
  • Do you suffer from constipation and small bowel movements?
  • Do you have diarrhea that alternates with constipation?
  • Do you have frequent bloating and gas?
  • Do you have a feeling of fullness in the rectum?
  • Is there a family history of inflammatory bowel disease?
  • Do you have a history of mental illness or depression?
  • Are there any things causing unusual stress in your life?
  • Please describe your diet in detail.

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 and cultures
  • Conventional abdominal X-rays
  • Endoscopy or sigmoidoscopy
  • Barium enema
  • Complete blood count and other blood tests
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Macular Degeneration

Updated January 27, 2017

Macular Degeneration

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Have you noticed a change in vision in one eye or both?
  • Do you have trouble reading, even with reading glasses?
  • Do you have difficulty seeing fine details?
  • Do you see a gray patch in the middle of the words when you read?
  • Do straight vertical lines appear "wiggly" when you look at them?
  • Is your side or peripheral vision affected?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have a family history of macular degeneration?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • The inside of your eye, using an ophthalmoscope (see p. 417)

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Referral to an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) who will do a complete eye exam with drops to dilate your pupils.
 

When You Visit Your Doctor - Multiple Myeloma

Updated January 27, 2017

Multiple Myeloma

Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:

  • Have you had any recent infections?
  • Do you know when to call your doctor with symptoms of infection?
  • Do you have pain in any of your bones? If so, is it constant, or does it occur only when you move?
  • Have you had any recent fractures?
  • Do you have pain in your spine? Does it radiate to another part of your body?
  • Have you noticed a decrease in sensation or strength in your hands or feet?
  • Have you had loss of bladder or bowel control?
  • Do you know when to seek medical attention for back pain?
  • Have you been fatigued?
  • Have you been lightheaded?
  • Have you been short of breath with minimal exertion?
  • Do your gums bleed when you brush your teeth?
  • Do you bruise easily, or get nosebleeds?
  • Have you been weak, nauseated, constipated, or confused?
  • Have you had a headache or a change in your vision?
  • Can you feel any lumps or masses under your skin?
  • Are you aware of the possible complications that can develop from multiple myeloma?
  • Do you know which symptoms should cause you to call your doctor?

Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:

  • Skin
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Arms and legs
  • Spine
  • Neurology examination (to check for strength and sensation in your hands and feet)
  • Lymph nodes (neck, axilla, and groin)

Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:

  • Blood tests for complete blood count, electrolytes, kidney function, uric acid, calcium, and beta-2 microglobulin
  • Serum protein electrophoresis or SPEP
  • Urine protein electrophoresis or UPEP
  • Quantitative immunoglobulin levels in the urine and blood
  • Immunoelectrophoresis
  • 24-hour urine collection for protein
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Skeletal radiographs
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
 

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
 

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