Questions for Your Rheumatologist
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What questions do you need to ask a rheumatologist when you are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? Get advice on your rheumatologist visit in this video.
Transcript: Your rheumatologist WANTS you to ask questions, but since you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed,...
Your rheumatologist WANTS you to ask questions, but since you're probably feeling a little overwhelmed, you may not be able to think of any! Here are some you'll probably want the answers to. First question: "What's the first step? " Well, in the past, doctors used to start new patients on NSAIDs--or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-in order to treat RA pain. But nowadays, they usually start new patients on disease modifying antirheumatic drugs - or DMARDs right away. They are the only drugs to actually SLOW the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. Although DMARDs are strong medications, you'll thank them for saving you from joint damage and years of pain. Number 2: Will I have to be on medication forever? In short, the answer to this one is "yes." Most cases of rheumatoid arthritis last a lifetime. In order to prevent joint pain and damage, you'll have to take disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, and/or biologics, indefinitely. Next question: "What are the side effects of these drugs?" All traditional DMARDs and the more modern versions called biologics have common, minor side effects and RARE major side effects. Depending on the DMARD, the minor effects include: nausea, vomiting, sore throat, headache and loss of appetite. If you take a biologic, some of the most common side effects are skin rashes, itchiness, bruising and swelling, all of which occur around the injection site. Also, all DMARDs and biologics increase your risk of infection. Number 4: What else can I do? You should ask your doctor what action YOU can take to relieve your RA symptoms. Medication is vital, but EXERCISE also helps enormously. You may be limited depending on the progression of your RA, so don't try anything until you ask your physician. He or she may even be able to refer to you to a physical therapist. And weight loss, if you need it, can take enormous pressure off your joints and that ease pain considerably. Once you get the answers to these questions, you'll be one step closer to fully understanding your treatment plan. To learn more rheumatoid arthritis basics, check out other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2016-10-04 | Tags »
rheumatologist, asking your doctor, treating ra, biologics, dmards ra pain relief, treating rheumatoid arthritis, antiinflammatories, painkillers joint pain, joint damage, disability, immune system, suppressed immune system, rheumatoid arthritis