Mar 12, 2019

Make the Most out of Your Next Rheumatologist Appointment

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If you have arthritis, it’s likely you see your doctor pretty regularly, but you probably don’t spend a lot of time at each appointment. Because of this, it is essential that you make the most out of every visit. With good planning, you’ll be better prepared to talk with your doctor and get the best care for your arthritis. Here are five tips for making the most out of your next rheumatologist visit.

Keep a log.

Your doctor can’t treat you without knowing how you feel. Keep a journal of your day-to-day symptoms. Include in this journal what joints hurt, when the pain started, if it has changed, or, if it is worse certain times of the day, write down exactly what it feels like. Having clear answers to these questions can help your doctor determine how well your treatment is working and whether your plan needs some adjustment.

Prioritize.

Stay focused on what matters during your visit. When your doctor enters the room, be ready to start talking business. Let him or her know how you’re feeling and how your symptoms may have changed since your last visit. Come into the visit with a list of questions that may have accumulated since your last visit. Keep a section in your journal for questions that may randomly pop up throughout your day so you don’t forget to ask.

Bring a list of medications.

Keep a running list of all the drugs you take including over-the-counter medications or vitamins. Be sure to include medicines you take to treat other conditions. You can bring in a list, take pictures of the bottles, and store them on your phone, or keep copies of the prescriptions in your journal. Whatever method you choose, know that having a clear and organized list will take less time for your doctor to review. Knowing exactly which medicines you take will help your rheumatologist make changes to your regimen or add a new prescription if you need it.

Bring a friend.

Ask a trusted friend or a reliable family member to come with you to your next appointment. They can take notes for you while you chat with your doctor and allow you to stay focused. They can also remind you of any questions you’ve forgotten to ask or any issues you were planning to bring up.

Be honest.

If you’re missing medication doses or having concerns about side effects, be sure to tell your doctor. Let your doctor know if you are feeling pain instead of trying to tough it out. Plan to discuss any emotional or mental needs as well. Living with a painful, chronic condition can be as hard on your mind as it is on your body. Don’t neglect your emotional state and be honest with your doctor if you are struggling. The more information you share, the better your doctor can tend to your needs and tailor your treatment.

The most important step for your next checkup is plan to develop an open and trusting relationship with your doctor. By doing this you both will be able to work together to implement the best care for your condition. At Carolina Arthritis, we have five expert doctors who are all educated, knowledgeable and skilled. If you are considering consulting a rheumatologist, make Carolina Arthritis Associates your first call. We are fully committed to offering you the highest level of care and meeting all your needs. Together we will explore your options and determine a treatment plan in a professional and compassionate environment.