As an arthritis patient, there is basic information about your condition that you must know and understand.
Arthritis journalist Carol Eustice has put together six questions you should ask your doctor so that you will be able to work together as a team.
1 – What type of arthritis do I have?
There are different types of arthritis.
Your treatment options depend on your type of arthritis.
Being accurately diagnosed by your doctor and understanding your diagnosis are two essential elements of your health care.
2 – What did my test results show (blood tests and imaging studies)?
Ask your doctor what abnormalities appeared in the test results. Inquire about the severity of the abnormalities.
Ask for a printed copy of the blood test results and imaging study reports.
3 – When should I expect to notice improvement from my current treatment?
After you have been diagnosed, your doctor will recommend a treatment regimen. Discuss your expectations with your doctor.
Your doctor should be able to explain the goal of your treatment, when you should expect some positive impact, and how long you will wait before switching to something else, if the current treatment appears to be ineffective.
4 – If my current treatment does not prove effective, what are my treatment options going forward?
Some people find comfort in knowing what might come next. It allows you time to become mentally prepared.
5 – In addition to my prescribed medications, what should I be doing to help manage my arthritis?
Traditional arthritis treatment, primarily involves medication. But, there are no rules that state you can’t try alternative or complementary treatments as well.
Tap into your doctor’s experience and ask for suggestions above and beyond medications.
Be specific as you discuss what is most bothersome to you and how it affects your ability to perform usual daily activities.
6 – What’s my prognosis?
Based on the severity of your arthritis when you are first diagnosed and your response to treatment, ask your doctor what you should expect in the near future.
Discuss the possibilities — even though you know there are no guarantees.
The Bottom Line
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you stay on-topic with your doctor as you discuss your specific type of arthritis.
It will help you to understand how your treatment should work and allow you to set realistic goals.
Source: Carol Eustice