Rheumatoid Arthritis: Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Medical Editor: Catherine B. Driver, MD

Note: We recommend you use this page as a reference for your consultation with your doctor.

1. What is my diagnosis, and how can I learn more about it?

2. Does my rheumatoid arthritis only affect the joints, or are there other areas of my body that can be involved? Can my eyes, heart, lungs, brain, or kidneys be affected? How?

3. What is the likely course of this form of arthritis? What is the long-term outlook (prognosis)?

4. What are my treatment options? What are the risks of not treating at all?

5. If my symptoms worsen, what should I do on my own? When should I contact you?

6. How and when should I exercise?

7. What are the local support groups or foundations that are available to me? (note: Arthritis Foundation, U.S.@www.arthritis.org)

8. I have certain special concerns (for example, fertility, pregnancy, offspring, alternative medicines, surgery, special diets, relatives with tragic outcomes with similar diseases or medications, etc.). How do these particular issues relate to my situation, and how do you feel about them?

9. Are my children likely to be affected by this illness? If so, how can I best help them?

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014