If you’ve been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, chances are that diagnosis was made by your family doctor.
Chances are even better that he’s sent you to a specialist to confirm that diagnosis and begin immediate treatment (if you’re lucky).
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy as a result of:
- HIV/AIDS or some other immune deficiency disease
- Exposure to toxins
- Alcohol or drug abuse
If your treating physician hasn’t referred you to a specialist, one of the best things you can do is request a referral to a specialist in treating peripheral neuropathy, like your local NeuropathyDR® clinician.
Once that referral is made, you need to take advantage of every minute you have with your specialist. Peripheral neuropathy is not a condition forgiving of delayed treatment. The longer you wait, the more severe and long-lasting (potentially permanent) your nerve damage can be.
So What Should You Do?
First, realize that your appointment with your specialist is much more than just time blocked on both your schedules. It’s a chance to take your life back. If you have peripheral neuropathy, your body is at war and this is your chance to win.
You want to be prepared so you can take advantage of every minute and get started with an effective treatment program ASAP.
To do that, you need to
- Write your symptoms down, even if you don’t think they have anything to do with your peripheral neuropathy. Making a list will ensure that you don’t forget anything.
- Make a list of every medication you take. That includes vitamins, herbal supplements and anything over the counter. Those liquid glucosamine drinks you may be taking to alleviate joint pain count as a medication.
- Line up someone to go with you, either a family member or a friend. You’ll want someone there to write down what the doctor tells you. There’s no way you’ll remember it all.
- Write down any questions you want to ask. There is no such thing as a stupid question so ask about anything you’re not sure about.
Here are a few samples:
- What causes peripheral neuropathy?
- Does everyone have the same symptoms or are mine different?
- What else could be causing my symptoms?
- Are there any tests I need?
- What are my chances of a full recovery?
- Will the treatment you’re prescribing have any side effects?
- What are my treatment options?
- Do you have any reading material I can take home to learn more about peripheral neuropathy?
These are just suggestions so don’t limit yourself to these questions. Again, write down anything you’re not sure about.
Be Ready to Help Your Doctor
Depending on your symptoms, your underlying medical conditions and any other issues that are specific to you and your peripheral neuropathy, your doctor will ask you quite a few questions.
To make the most efficient use of your time with him, do what you can to help him. Think about the answers to these basic questions before your appointment:
- Do you have any underlying medical conditions (like the ones we listed above?)
- When did you first notice your symptoms?
- How often do you experience your symptoms? Do you have problems at specific times of the day or after any specific activity?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, (1 being mild and 10 being severe), how would you rate your symptoms?
- Have you noticed anything that makes your symptoms better or worse?
Just thinking about these questions ahead of time and actually putting together answers will make your time with your NeuropathyDR® clinician or other specialist more efficient and productive. You’ll both be much happier with the result if you know what to expect.
And don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for suggestions to help you manage your peripheral neuropathy symptoms. Your NeuropathyDR® clinician specializes in treating the whole patient, including recommending lifestyle changes, preparing diet plans, whatever it takes to make your treatment plan effective for you.
We hope this gives you a head start on taking charge of your peripheral neuropathy and making sure that you and your medical professional get the most out of your time together.
For more information on treating and recovering from peripheral neuropathy, get our Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at http://neuropathydr.com.