By Seth Ginsberg
If you have a chronic condition such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) that requires long-term care, making the most of your doctor’s visit is a must. Consider these tips before your next visit with your physician:
Ask questions! Remember, these are the experts—this is your time to soak in their knowledge. Your doctor will be happy you are taking an interest and are an engaged patient.
Be honest about what is really going on. Provide detailed information about your exercise regime, diet, home life, and work environment. These nonclinical factors can have serious implications for your health.
Get to know your doctor’s office staff.
These are the gatekeepers to your health—playing nice with these folks will do you a world of good.
Keep a journal. Log and track changes in your mood, pain level, appetite, energy level, and sleep. This is your body’s way of communicating with you—so listen up.
Stay informed on measurement metrics
(i.e., biomarker testing such as the new Vectra DA) that can help you better gauge your disease.
Give your doctor a chance to get to know you as a person, rather than a patient. Doctors are people too—developing a strong rapport can help your physician better treat you and help you feel more comfortable that you’re getting the best care.
Seth Ginsberg is the founder of CreakyJoints, an arthritis advocacy organization with over 55,000 registered users online. For more than a decade, CreakyJoints has been helping those of all ages with arthritis better manage their condition through its innovative educational initiatives and vibrant, engaged community. For more information about CreakyJoints, and to receive a free newsletter featuring news and other information on RA, visit CreakyJoints.org. To join the conversation with other RA patients, visit CreakyJoints on Facebook: Facebook.com/CreakyJoints.