If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you will likely see your rheumatologist regularly. Scheduled appointments allow you to give the opportunity. It monitors the disease progress, tracks flares, identifies triggers, and adjusts medications. You should also take the time to report any lifestyle modifications like an increase in dietary or exercise changes.
However, between your scheduled appointments, there may also be times when you would like to see your rheumatologist almost urgently.
Here in this blog, we have covered the top 6 reasons you should pick up the phone and ask to be scheduled sooner rather than later.
Experiencing a flare
There’s a need to visit the office when someone experiences a flare of their rheumatoid arthritis. When there are a disease’s inflammation flares up, the problem could be more than painful – permanent deformity and joint damage may occur.
Each person with rheumatoid arthritis comes in with unique flare severity and symptoms. Over time, as you consistently meet with your doctor during flares, the two of you will be able to determine the best treatment approaches.
Pain in a new area
Rheumatoid arthritis primarily strikes joints causing pain, swelling, heat, and redness. However, it also may cause pain elsewhere in your body. For example, the autoimmune malfunction may attack the tissue of your mouth and eyes or causes an inflammation of blood vessels. Rarely does RA attacks the tissue around the heart and lungs.
If your mouth or eyes become uncomfortable and dry, or you start developing a skin rash, you may be experiencing an expansion in the RA symptoms. In this case, make an appointment with your rheumatologist and ask for an assessment.
Changes in your insurance
Few private insurance companies may cover a pre-existing condition if you haven’t had a lapse in your care. If you consider the current uncertain insurance landscape, keep your scheduled appointments and check-in with your doctor more frequently to show the continuity of care.
Change in eating or sleeping habits
Getting a good night’s rest is tough when you have RA. A sleeping position may be comfortable for affected joints but not for other body parts. In addition, joint heat or new pain may wake you up. Along with this, eating may also pose special challenges. Few RA medicines may affect appetite, also leading to nausea or weight gain, which prevents you from eating.
If you notice changes in when and how you eat or sleep less, go to your doctor. First, you should learn if changes in eating and sleeping are related to some of RA’s most devious effects, including anxiety and depression.
You suspect side effects
The most frequently prescribed drugs for RA are disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and newer treatments called biologics. Although these treatments improve the lives of many RA, they come with side effects.
Some NSAIDs’ side effects include stomach discomfort, heartburn, and edema. Corticosteroids may elevate blood sugar and cholesterol and increase appetite, leading to weight gain. Biologics and DMARDs interact with your immune system leading to more infections or rarely other autoimmune symptoms (multiple sclerosis, lupus, psoriasis). If you experience side effects from your RA medication, visit your doctor.
Treatment doesn’t work well as it should
RA is chronic and could be progressive. While many begin to take frontline RA treatments like DMARDs and NSAIDs as soon as diagnosed, the treatments may have to be augmented as time goes by.
If your treatment doesn’t give you the relief you need, make an appointment with your rheumatologist. It may be the time for you to change your medications or consider advanced treatment. It will help you to forestall long-term joint damage and relieve discomfort.
If you have RA, it means you get to know the entire medical support team well. Your rheumatologist is one of the most vital resources on the team. They will help you to understand your condition and its evolution. They will also consult with your caregivers to coordinate care. Therefore, you should visit your rheumatologist on a regular basis. Also, do not hesitate to contact them if you have condition changes or questions.
If you want a discount on your prescription medication for RA, download the free prescription discount card today!