Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders: How to Prepare for your Appointment & What to Do While You Wait
If your primary care doctor suspects you might have Parkinson’s disease or another movement disorder, he or she has likely referred you to a specialist.
Movement disorders are neurological conditions that affect your ability to move, or cause involuntary movements such as trembling, jerking, or spasms. Symptoms can range from subtle to severe.
Establishing a relationship with a neurologist who has specialized training in movement disorders is critical. From there, you can receive a definitive diagnosis, learn about possible treatment options, and have a partner in managing your disorder.
As you wait to see a specialist, consider the following ways to get the most out of your appointment:
→ Start a Symptom Journal
Keep a daily record of the symptoms you experience — the more detailed, the better. Use a calendar format and note the time of day each time you chart a symptom, or check out this list of health apps to track electronically. This log will give your doctor an excellent starting point.
→ Ask What Imaging Tests to Expect
Brain imaging is often used to diagnose movement disorders. Call ahead of time to see if any special tests will be conducted during your appointment. MRIs and other imaging tests can be expensive, so it may be helpful to call your insurance and confirm coverage.
→ Write Your Questions Down
You have many questions, but these can be difficult to remember when you are also trying to take in a lot of new information. Jot them down in a notepad and bring the list to your appointment, along with your symptom journal.
→ Secure a Support Person
Bringing a friend or family member to your appointment is not absolutely necessary, but may be very beneficial. A support person can ensure your questions are answered and help you remember details about next steps.
→ Conduct Some Basic Research
There are many different types of movement disorders. Reviewing them on a site like Mayo Clinic can help you understand what diagnoses your doctor may consider, and what symptoms go along with each disorder.
» Check out our Parkinson’s and Other Movement Disorders Infographic to learn the basics about types, symptoms, and treatment. «
→ Know Your Family History
While Parkinson’s Disease is not often hereditary, knowing your family history is empowering. If there are other movement disorders in the family line, your doctor needs to know about them. Take some time to ask about specifics if you are aware of another family member who has struggled with similar symptoms.
→ Try to Keep an Open Mind
It is expected for your mood to be affected when waiting for a movement disorder diagnosis. Try to remain active, eat healthy, and get good sleep as you wait to see a specialist. By scheduling the appointment, you are one step closer to having a treatment plan designed especially for you, and that alone improves your prognosis.
Schedule Your Appointment or Learn More
If you still need an appointment, talk to your primary care doctor about providing a referral to LeBauer Neurology, or contact us directly at (336) 832-3070 or through our convenient online appointment request form. In the meantime, learn more about common movement disorders by downloading our free infographic.
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