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Talking to Your Doctor About Rheumatoid Arthritis
General Tips for Gathering Information
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and ask questions you may not have thought of.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and ask for clarification if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or to ask for more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Do my symptoms suggest that I have RA?
- Could these symptoms be caused by any other joint diseases?
- What kinds of tests will I need to have a firm diagnosis?
- What should I tell my children about their risk of developing RA?
- When can I expect to feel improvement from the treatment?
- What comfort measures (such as heat or cold) might be helpful?
- What medications can I take to reduce pain and improve my ability to function normally?
- What side effects do these medications have?
- Is my RA so advanced that I should consider any surgical procedures?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that may help me?
- What kinds of exercise should I do to increase my muscle strength?
- Are there exercises that may help me feel better?
- Are there exercises or athletic activities that I should avoid because they overly stress my joints?
- Could my occupation be contributing to my joint disease and symptoms?
- How much rest should I get?
- Are there any assistive devices that might help me continue to function independently?
- What is the usual progression of RA?
- How can I slow or halt the progression of RA?
- Do I have to give up or change any of my activities now or in the future?
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2016
- Update Date: 05/20/2015