Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
While you might first discuss your symptoms with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions — for further evaluation.
What you can do
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
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask some of the following questions:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Have your symptoms changed over time?
- Which joints are affected?
- Does any activity make your symptoms better or worse?
- Are your symptoms interfering with daily tasks?
- Handout on health: Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Rheumatic_Disease/default.asp. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=$eid&isbn=978-1-4557-0295-4&uniqId=398813857-1936. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Frontera WR, et al. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1678/0.html. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Venables PJ, et al. Diagnosis and differential diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Schur PH, et al. General principles of management of rheumatoid arthritis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Matteson EL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 2, 2013.
- Schur PH, et al. Nonpharmacologic and preventive therapies of rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 26, 2013.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and complementary health approaches. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/RA/getthefacts.htm. Accessed July 1, 2013.