Your new best friend... your rheumatologist

Your rheumatologist could just be your new best friend when it comes to managing your rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rheumatologists specialize in arthritis and other conditions involving the joints, muscles, and bones, so they are the ideal people to help you find a treatment that fits. Your rheumatologist can work with you, your family doctor, and other healthcare professionals to help you manage your rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Here's how to get the most out of working with your rheumatologist:

Prepare for your visit. Before your visit, make a list of the questions and concerns you would like to talk about during the visit. There are differences among biologic treatments including how frequently they are taken, and how and where they are prepared and injected. Think about your treatment preferences. You may wish to bring a pen and paper with you to take notes during the visit. Some people also like to bring a family member or supportive friend.

Get involved. You and your rheumatologist can have a more productive discussion if you have researched the treatment options and considered your treatment preferences ahead of time. Expressing your preferences can help you become more involved in the treatment decision-making, which will help you find a treatment that suits your needs and lifestyle.

Ask away! Don't be afraid to ask any questions that may be on your mind. If something is not clear to you, ask for an explanation. Make a list of questions ahead of time to help you remember what to ask. If you're not sure what to ask, here are some questions about biologic treatment options to get you started:

  • Which biologic treatment options are available?
  • How often do I need to take the biologic medication?
  • How and where is each medication prepared and given?
  • Given my treatment preferences, which one would be the best fit for me?
  • When could I expect the treatment to start working?
  • What are the benefits of each option?
  • What are the possible side effects, and what should I do if they occur?
  • Is there anything else I need to consider when choosing a biologic treatment?
  • If one biologic fails, will switching to another one work for me?

Now that you know how to get the most out of your visit, it's time to give your new best friend, your rheumatologist, a call! Together, you and your rheumatologist can find the best biologic treatment for you to manage your RA.

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