Talking Over RA means taking control.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is about more than pain. Even when you’re not experiencing symptoms, you might be wondering when another flare-up will happen. If you’re planning your day around flare-ups or suffering through even minor disruptions, your RA may be too loud.
Now is your opportunity to help drown out RA with your own voice, and, with your doctor, come up with a plan to help you reach your treatment goals. You have the power to effect change in your life by talking about your experiences, your aspirations, and your options. All you have to do is start the conversation.
5 tips for a more meaningful conversation with your rheumatologist
Be specific about your goals
Start by thinking about the ways that RA impacts your life and the specific day-to-day challenges that you face. What do you most want to be able to do? For example:
- Are you a kindergarten teacher who wants to be able to sit on the floor with your students?
- Are you a parent who wants to feel well enough to go to your child’s sporting events?
- Do you want to be able to run errands and carry groceries on your own?
Evaluate your current well-being
Always remember to tell your rheumatologist how you’re feeling. It’s OK to say if you’re not doing well, but it’s just as important to let them know if you’re doing well or better than before.
Evaluate your current treatment regimen
Evaluate how you’re feeling about your current treatment regimen. It’s as important to share if your medication is helping you as it is to share concerns.
It’s important to be open about your treatment regimen even if you find it difficult to discuss your concerns. For example, if you are experiencing side effects or if you are having a hard time adhering to your treatment regimen, this is important for your physician to know.
Document your symptoms
How you feel on the day of your appointment may not reflect how you felt at other times since your last visit. In addition to more common symptoms like pain, stiffness, and fatigue, don’t forget to mention if you had a fever, loss of appetite, or challenges with your activities. Think about the last 3 months and write down what you experienced:
If there’s something you don’t understand or if there’s information you need, don’t be shy about asking.
Guide for discussion with your doctor
This article is supported by a research-based biopharmaceutical company.