Team Up with Your Doctor to Feel Better

Being honest with your healthcare team about how you feel today can help make for a better tomorrow.

Feeling better will mean different things to different people. And that’s fine. For some, life would be much better if basic everyday tasks—like blow-drying your hair or making dinner—were a less painful experience. Others may long to have the energy to get back to the gym or resume full-time work.

Whatever your dreams are, it’s important to understand how to work with your doctor to make sure your “treatment goals” are understood. You want everyone on your healthcare team working together to help you reach for your best.

How your doctor views your progress

During checkups, your rheumatologist is making a careful assessment of how you are feeling: Are you doing better (or worse) than the last time you were in the office? Your doctor thinks about treatment goals in these terms:

  • Control of symptoms (less pain, tenderness, inflammation and fatigue)
  • Prevention of joint damage
  • Ability to enjoy everyday life
    As you look at these goals, you’ll notice that some are kind of fuzzy —how does one truly measure an ability to enjoy life? While it’s tricky, doctors do have tools to help them gauge the progression of your RA.
What's your disease activity socre?

Rheumatologists use a vareity of tools to measure your conditon. Tools include a general health questionnaire to help them understand how difficult RA is making your everyday life and examining your joints to assess where you feel pain. That can determine your treatment regimen.

Your doctor may also order a Vectra DA test. It measures proteins that cause and control RA in your body. By taking this test, you and your doctor get a more detailed, comprehensive picture of your RA.

To get ready for your doctor appointment today, we encourage you to download and fill out this worksheet and share the results with your doctor.

Taking the time to assess the severity of your symptoms—and talk about the challenges of everyday tasks—should be an important part of your medical exam.

Updated November 2012

Causes & Risk Factors
Your Healthcare Team
Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Examining Your Treatment Options
PT, OT or Surgery?
Make the Team
A Doctor's Perspective: The Inside Scoop on RA
Team Up with Your Doctor to Feel Better
Why RA Tests Matter


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