Preparing for your appointment

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?
March 18, 2016
References
  1. Rheumatoid arthritis. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/rheumatoid_arthritis. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
  2. 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 Feb. 16, 2016.
  3. Goldman L, et al., eds. Rheumatoid arthritis. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 29, 2016.
  4. Ferri FF. Rheumatoid arthritis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 29, 2016.
  5. Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis. Accessed Feb. 29, 2016.
  6. Living with arthritis. American Occupational Therapy Association. http://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/Adults/Arthritis.aspx. Accessed Feb. 29, 2016.
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis: In depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/RA/getthefacts.htm. Accessed Feb. 29, 2016.
  8. Matteson EL, et al. Overview of the systemic and nonarticular manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
  9. Gabriel SE, et al. Epidemiology of, risk factors for, and possible causes of rheumatoid arthritis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 16, 2016.
  10. Schur PH, et al. General principles of management of rheumatoid arthritis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 17, 2016.
  11. Weisman MH, et al. Total joint replacement for severe rheumatoid arthritis. http://wwwuptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 29, 2016.
  12. Matteson EL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 23, 2016.