Receiving rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis can be difficult, and we’re sure a million questions are running through your mind. While a rheumatologist takes care of your diagnosis and treatment plan, there are many things you should clarify to understand and manage your condition.
In this article, we’ll discuss common questions you must ask your rheumatologist before starting a treatment plan.
7 rheumatoid arthritis questions you need to ask your rheumatologist
- What is my current rheumatoid arthritis condition?
RA has four progressive stages with varying symptoms and treatment at each stage. It may also enter remission, where you might not experience any symptoms for a few weeks or even months.
Asking about your current condition, how it may progress, indicators you need to be aware of, and how to manage it will help you deal with RA better.
- What are my treatment options, and will they have any side effects?
RA has several treatment options:
- Diet and lifestyle changes: Nutritious diet, regular exercise, limiting alcohol, etc.
- Medications: Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents (NSAIDs), Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs), corticosteroids, biological drugs, etc.
- Therapy: Physical and occupational therapy
- Surgery: Synovectomy, tendon repair, joint fusion, and total joint replacement
Your rheumatologist will create a personalized treatment plan that caters to your symptoms and condition. You can ask them about the side effects of medications or surgery and how to deal with them.
- How long will it take for my medications to work?
Every medicine works differently. Corticosteroids and NSAIDs work at a chemical level and reduce inflammation, providing faster pain relief.
On the other hand, DMARDs and biological drugs work towards treating the inflammation at its roots, taking a long time. You can ask your rheumatologist when you’ll start seeing results and what that might look like.
- Will RA drugs interfere with my current medication?
Rheumatologists will discuss your current medical condition and medications beforehand to prescribe medicines that don’t intervene with others. However, if you’re worried about how they may interact with other drugs or food, clarify this beforehand.
- How will RA impact my personal or work routine?
Performing daily chores and working with arthritis can be challenging, as RA causes a lot of pain and inflammation in your joints. Therefore, you must ask your rheumatologist about its impact and government policies to help you live a quality life with RA.
- In case of RA flare-ups, what immediate steps do I need to take?
RA can happen in cycles of remission and flare-ups. One day you feel fine, and the next day you aren’t able to get out of bed. It might sound unreal, but it’s true. Asking your rheumatologist about steps you can take to deal with sudden flare-ups will help you without causing unnecessary panic.
- What are the high-risk comorbidities of RA?
Patients with RA are at a higher risk of comorbidities like cardiovascular diseases, infections, skin diseases, etc. By asking questions about it, you’ll be aware of the steps you can take to avoid RA-associated health risks.
Asking questions about your condition will help you understand your diagnosis and treatment plan.
It will ensure you seek medical attention in case your situation worsens or you experience new symptoms over time. This is why we recommend asking all your questions—no matter how basic they are—so that you know your next steps with full clarity.
If you’re looking for a rheumatologist to get better answers, contact our experts today.