Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
While you may initially consult your family physician, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in arthritis — for further evaluation.
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you've had in the past
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For reactive arthritis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- Do I need any tests to confirm the diagnosis?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- How soon do you expect my symptoms to improve with treatment?
- Is there anything I can do now to help relieve my joint pain?
- Am I at risk of long-term complications from this condition?
- When should I be seen for a follow-up exam?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- What are your symptoms, and when did you first notice them?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Have you had any recent infections?
- Do you have any chronic illnesses?
- What medications are you currently taking, including vitamins and supplements?
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- Yu DT, et al. Undifferentiated spondyloarthritis and reactive arthritis. In: Firestein GS, et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1807/0.html. Accessed Jan. 31, 2011.
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