If you’ve just recently been diagnosed with arthritis, take note—communication with your doctor is key to making sure that you’re able to manage your condition well.
Engaging in dialogue with your physician will help you understand the condition, educate you about arthritis, and learn about your treatment options. It will also help give your doctor a better sense of how your diagnosis has affected you and how you will be approaching treatment and maintenance.
Typically, doctors are the ones who ask questions during exams. But you can proactively inquire about your condition and inquire about the best ways to manage your arthritis. After all, your health is important to both you and your physician.
Keeping in mind that your time with your doctor is limited, we’ve run down some of the most important questions that you should ask your doctor:
1. What is my diagnosis? Can you tell me more about it and point me to resources where I can learn more about it?
2. What specific type of arthritis do I have? Will it affect just my joints? Or will it eventually affect other areas of my body? If yes, how?
3. What is the likely course of this kind of arthritis and what is it like having this condition in the long-term?
4. What are my treatment options? What kind of risks do I face if I don’t treat it immediately?
5. What symptoms should I look out for—especially if my arthritis is set to worsen with time? What can I do on my own to manage it and when should I get in touch with you?
6. Am I able to exercise despite my condition? If yes, what should I take into consideration?
7. Are there local support groups that I can join?
8. I have certain special considerations to think about (these can include diet, fertility, pregnancy, options for alternative medicine, family history, etc.) How would your medication or treatment for my arthritis affect this?
9. Is my condition hereditary? Will my kids (if any) be affected by this illness? How can best help them prevent or manage it?
10. Are there tools and aids, outside of medication, that I can use to help manage my arthritis?
For us at Dr. Arthritis, we believe open communication with your physician is critical to how well you will be able to manage living with arthritis. And armed with the right knowledge and information, you’ll be better equipped to maintain a good quality of life despite it.