The key to maintaining your health will be a joint venture between you and your health care team. The primary goal will be to tailor a course of action customized for your needs to defer your disability.
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor.
1. Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
2. Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
3. Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
4. Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Before making your appointment, ask…
1. Do you specialize in Multiple Sclerosis?
2. How many Multiple Sclerosis patients do you care for?
3. Is the initial evaluation covered by my insurance as well as future appointments?
4. Are you affiliated with an MS Care Center?
Take with you to your appointment
1. Health insurance information including authorizations or referrals
2. List of your prescription medications/holistic therapies and dosages
3. List of medications you are allergic to
4. List of questions you may have
5. Recent test/imaging results related to your condition
6. Paper and pencil to take notes
1. How does this therapy work to treat my MS?
2. How often and for how long do I need to take this therapy?
3. How long ago was this therapy approved to treat MS?
4. For how many years has this therapy been studied and what does the research show?
5. What are some of the risks associated with this therapy?
6. Are there ways to help me reduce some of the side effects of this therapy?
7. Can this therapy delay the progression of my MS?
8. If my spouse and I are trying to have a baby, do I need to stop therapy?
9. How do I store this therapy? Example: refrigeration?
10. How much does this therapy cost, and does the manufacturer provide financial assistance?
11. What type of support program exists to help me with my treatment?
12. I'm not sure how to use my MS treatment properly.
13. I'm having trouble taking my MS medication or giving myself injections.
14. I'm not sure whether my MS medication is really working.
15. I'm having trouble remembering to take my MS medication.
16. I think I'm having side effects from my MS treatment.
17. I sometimes forget to take my MS medication. I'm not satisfied with my MS treatment.
1. What types of examinations and tests will be performed?
2. Are there any risks associated with these tests?
3. Have you been able to rule out every other possible cause of my symptoms?
4. What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?
5. Why do you suspect that I have multiple sclerosis?
6. What type of MS do I have?
7. How severe is my current condition?
8. What is the current status of my EDSS score (Expanded Disability Status Scale; the scale your neurologist uses to measure the severity of MS disability)? Has there been a decline or an improvement?
9. What is the usual prognosis for people who have this type of MS?
10. How do you expect my condition to progress?
11. Should I take drugs to try to slow down the disease?
12. What drug(s) should I take to treat my MS and why?
13. How will I know if the drugs are working?
14. What side effects should I expect, and how should I respond to them?
15. Are there any new clinical trials that I may be a candidate for?
16. Should I take steroids during an attack?
17. Is there anything else I can do to cope with attacks?
18. What do you recommend for treating the symptoms of my MS (like muscle spasms or pain)?
19. Do lifestyle changes, exercise, or physical therapy improve disability?
20. If I'm feeling "weird", when should I let you know?
21. Will I be able to have children?
22. Will MS affect my pregnancy and delivery?
23. Can I keep my MRI films?
24. Do any of your MS patients receive alternative therapy?
25. Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to help myself? For example, will eating certain foods or exercising help?
26. Are you affiliated with an MS Care Center?
27. Are there any local support groups?
28. If a course of IV steroids are required, is it in a hospital or at home?
Reference: Web MD, Bayer Health Care, Health Central, Remedy’s Health Communities, Health Org., Thrid Age, My Telus