Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an overwhelming thing. How are you supposed to remember asking the right questions at the right time?
Over the past few months, I’ve been part of a team of Canadian arthritis bloggers who were, with the support of Janssen Inc., asked to collaborate on ways to support people who are newly diagnosed with RA. We were invited to share questions that, looking back, they wish they had asked their doctors at diagnosis. I didn’t remember much about my diagnosis, what with being nine years old at the time, but I thought about what I would ask now or what I’ve heard others wish they’d asked.
The idea is that these questions can be a resource in helping you have a productive conversation with your doctor. Hopefully, the questions can help you get the information you need to make an informed decision about your health.
1. What caused my rheumatoid arthritis?
2. How might my rheumatoid arthritis progress, and what is my prognoses?
3. How advanced is my rheumatoid arthritis? If there is already damage to my joints, is there anything I can do to reverse it?
4. If I am diagnosed with one autoimmune disease, does it put me at higher risk to develop other diseases or conditions? What should I watch for?
5. Are there any lifestyle changes you recommend to help manage my rheumatoid arthritis (i.e. increasing/limiting/changing my physical activity, making changes to my diet, etc.)? Can I continue to stay active while on medication?
6. Do you have any suggestions on how I share the news with my family, friends and co-workers t help them understand? Are there any conversation starters that you can recommend?
7. How bad does a flare need to get before making an appointment to see you again? What should I use when the pain flares?
8. What are my treatment options? Are biologic medications easy to use? How quickly will my treatment start to work?
9. What are the potential side effects of my medications and how will they be monitored?
10. Where I can find more information, resources and support? Are there any programs available to help me manage my rheumatoid arthritis?
Can you add something to the list?