Preparation for your Rheumatology Consultation

Important advice from drdoc

 
Give your OWN story from scratch -

Not what doctors / other people have interpreted it as being.
 
If you are going to write things down -

Write down your thoughts in point form - (don’t write a book) and expand on these as a prompt for yourself.

 
Avoid the "Oh I forgot to tell you" syndrome -

Just as you’re about to leave the consulting room.
 
Make a FULL list of your medications including natural therapies-

This is fundamental and VERY important. It should include all prescription medications as well as over - the - counter (OTC) medications
 
Bring ALL your X-rays scans -

Even if you think they would be irrelevant. Leave it to the doc to decide what he wants to see.
 
Make a priority list of your problems -

Try to ensure that your Doctor has understood all the problems as they affect you as a patient.

Don’t get too bogged down in fine detail -

But give your doctor an idea of trends of change of your problem.
Onset
Precipitating factors
Duration
Progression over the time
Impact on daily life and function.

 
Ask Questions -

Don’t be scared to ask questions - there is NO such thing as a stupid question...

Ask your doc if he has literature to review on the problem -

It is always good to educate yourself regarding the problem
 

Key questions that will require answers

1 Age / sex and general medical background
2 Are the symptoms worse in the morning.
3 Is there morning stiffness.
4 How long does that stiffness last in the morning.
5 Is there active swelling visible now ? , or are the joints just "feeling" swollen.
6 What are the joints involved.
7 Are there any skin rashes especially psoriasis, or sun sensitivity.
8 Is there any history of mouth / genital ulcers.
9 Is there any history of bowel disturbance - especially diarrhoea / blood in the stools / mucus in the stools.
10 Is there any history of eye problems.
11 What aggravates the symptoms / any history of trauma
12 Is there a family history of arthritis.
13 What is the sleep pattern like.
14 What is the impact on daily life.

That’s a start
Regards and good luck from
drdoc

 

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drdoc on-line
Cape Town
South Africa
June 2000
Updated 2011