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Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Arthritis pain affects more than 86 million people each year. Adults, teenagers and even children can be affected by it. If you think you may have one or more forms of arthritis, here are some questions to ask your doctor during your next appointment.

* At least 100 different illnesses that fall under the name “Arthritis,” so which one do I have? This may seem like a silly question, but the treatment can be radically different depending upon what type of arthritis you have.

* What is the best medication for the type of arthritis I have? Doctors can treat mild osteoarthritis with over-the-counter medications, while rheumatoid arthritis needs a prescription to reduce the effects of the disease.

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* How much does my family history or my own medical history affect which drugs I can take? Your doctor should ask for a complete family medical history as well as your own to ensure there is not a problem with the drugs they want to prescribe.

* Is this drug safe to take every day? In the same vein, you will want to ask if you will have to take the drug long term. Some medications can be taken for a short time and still be effective. Others may require that you take them for longer to get the most benefit from them.

* How long will it take to see an improvement in my arthritis symptoms? Depending upon the type of arthritis you have, you may see an improvement in pain in less than a week. Other medicines may take longer for you to see progress.

* Will I have to worry about this treatment interacting with other medications I am currently taking? Drug interaction can have serious consequences so it is imperative that you tell your doctor every prescription you have, any over-the-counter medications you may take and any herbal remedies you may use.

* If the prescription has potential side effects, is there something I can do to reduce the possibility of developing them? If you have ever read the materials that come with a prescription, you know some of the side effects can be worse than the condition for which you take the medication. Asking the doctor about side effects and reducing your risk for them helps your doctor know that you are informed and knowledgeable about your condition.

* Are there other options I can use to reduce my pain without having to take painkillers? What are my risks if I choose not to go that route, but use a “natural” method to treat my arthritis instead? Most doctors will try to convince you to use the form of treatment they are most familiar with and prescribe most often. Remember that this is your body and you have the right to refuse treatment if you feel there is something better available. Take the time to research the different types of arthritis and possible treatments so you can discuss things with your doctor in an informed manner.

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Arthritis inflammation and pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating. Seeking the advice of a licensed professional – whether you choose a traditional doctor or a naturopathic doctor – is your best bet to learn if you have arthritis and the treatments that are available. If a doctor diagnoses you with arthritis, do your best to learn all you can and seek a second opinion if you are uncomfortable with the prescribed course of action.

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