Blood clotting disorders are serious conditions. To avoid misunderstandings and make sure that you are getting the proper treatment, communication between patients and doctors is essential. To make sure you get as much information as possible, bring a list of questions with you to your doctor appointment.
Blood Clotting Questions: Doctor to Patient
At your appointment, you can expect the doctor to ask you a number of questions about your symptoms as he diagnoses your condition. To determine the nature of blood clotting disorders, a doctor will ask many questions about previous blood clotting experiences, current symptoms and other pertinent details. Questions likely to be asked by your doctor include:
- Are you taking hormone replacement therapy?
- Do you have a history of blood clotting disorders?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you take oral contraceptives?
- If female, are you pregnant?
- Is there a family history of blood clotting disorders?
- What medications do you currently take?
- When did current blood clotting symptoms start?
The doctor is also likely to ask if you are at risk for atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries that increases the risk of a blood clotting disorder called arterial thrombosis. Risk factors for atherosclerosis include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history and age.
Your doctor may also ask if you are at risk for deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots develop in the large veins. Risk factors for deep vein thrombosis include:
- bed rest for more than four days
- heart attacks
- heart failure
- high platelet levels in blood
- inherited genetic disorders
- major surgery
- sickle cell anemia
- varicose veins.
Blood Clotting Questions: Patient to Doctor
Being diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder can be upsetting. After initial treatment your doctor will want to see you for regular checkups to monitor your condition.
It helps to make a list of the questions you want to ask about blood clotting disorders before your doctor’s appointment. The stress of a doctor’s visit makes it easy to forget important questions until after the appointment.
Questions to ask you doctor about blood clotting disorders include:
- Is my condition acute or chronic?
- Can I take oral contraceptives?
- Can prescription medications help my condition?
- Do we need to rule out a cancerous cause?
- Do I need to make any dietary or exercise changes?
- Should I limit my activity levels?
- Will I need to wear compression stockings?
- Should I be referred to a blood clotting disorders specialist? Should I wear a medical alert bracelet?
Warfarin and Blood Clotting Disorders
Many blood clotting disorders are treated with warfarin, a blood thinner that inhibits clotting action. Because warfarin makes it more difficult for bleeding to stop, be sure to ask your doctor which activities you should avoid.
While on warfarin, you may have to abide by certain dietary restrictions. Your doctor should be able to supply you with a list of foods to avoid while taking medication for blood clotting disorders.
Other questions to ask about warfarin include:
- Am I a candidate for low-dose warfarin after six months of therapy?
- How long will I need to take warfarin?
- Is there a difference between generic and brand name warfarin?
- What if I get pregnant while taking warfarin?
Cleveland Clinic Foundation. (August 2005). Hypercoagulable States (Blood Clotting Disorders). Retrieved 26 September 2007 from the Cleveland Clinic Web site: www.clevelandclinic.org/heartcenter/pub/guide/disease/vascular/hypercoagstate.htm.
Moll, S. (updated 15 February 2004). Questions to Ask Your Doctor. Retrieved from the Factor V Leiden Web site: www.fvleiden.org/ask/65.html.
Wrong Diagnosis. (updated 24 September 2007). Questions Your Doctor May Ask (and Why). Retrieved 26 September 2007 from the Wrong Diagnosis Web site: www.wrongdiagnosis.com/symptoms/clotting_symptoms/questions.htm.