Choose Your Rheumatologist Wisely with Tips from People Living with Arthritis

October 9, 2018

More people suffer from some form of arthritis that is recognized. Probably the most distressful is rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is a silent killer, as nobody dies from it observable. It affects the joints of the fingers, the knees, and elbows mostly. However, the sheer strain on the system and nerves caused by the crippling pain does erode one’s longevity. As this is an auto-immune disease, where the body’s immune system begins attacking healthy cells; in an extreme condition, it can begin to attack the internal organs. So, if you or a loved one is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, you need to know that this is an ailment for which you can only get relief. There is still no known permanent cure.

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Why Your Rheumatologist Makes a Difference
If you have been consulting your family doctor to deal with RA, it is time to ask her/him to refer you to a rheumatologist. Those who have been living with rheumatoid arthritis for years understand the difference an expert rheumatologist can make to the quality of life. Your rheumatologist will understand the level of your difficulty to guide you with the appropriate interventions. These could be by way of medications to reduce pain and swelling, the exercises which would ease your mobility issues, and the diet which could aggravate or lessen your issues.

Ensure You Can State Your Difficulties When Consulting Your Rheumatologist
Many patients have complained that when they are trying to describe what is troubling them, their rheumatologist either focuses otherwhere — or worse — discounts the level of their misery. Only the sufferer knows the gravity of their distress. If it seems that your rheumatologist is not taking your complaints seriously; look for another one. Your rheumatologist should be focusing on you, not your medical chart, x-rays, and previous prescriptions. Do you find that while you are narrating your difficulties, your rheumatologist begins to discuss some other patient with a nurse, or another doctor? Leave that chamber immediately, and find someone else.

Find someone with appropriate sympathy and empathy:
An unsympathetic or uncaring doctor can cause a patient to worsen, instead of improving. It should be noted that the rheumatologists of the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences know how to listen with both sympathy and empathy. They give you undivided attention to ensure that they offer you the best possible medication and interventions.

How Knowledgeable Is Your Rheumatologist?
It is vital for your well-being that your rheumatologist stays abreast of all the latest findings, and interventions like dietary modifications and physiotherapy to give you the best possible care. Heat treatment, massage, and even transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) have been known to give major pain relief. You need somebody who is widely read, has a reassuring manner, is wise, and confident about her/his own skills. However, good intentions are not adequate. The challenge which most rheumatologists face is that patients come to consult them when the condition has already been aggravated. The earlier you see a rheumatologist the less you are likely to suffer or become confined to a wheelchair.

Your Rheumatologist Should Be Supportive
The best kind of rheumatologist is supportive of your ambitions. It is a common misconception is that rheumatoid arthritis impacts only the aging and the elderly. It can strike even very young people. Therefore, if you have ambitions of shining in a dance form, athletics, or some other sport, your rheumatologist can make the difference between your being able to realize your dreams, and just daydreaming of all those wonderful achievements.

Your Diet Could Hold the Key
Since bone erosion and joint deformity often occurs as the disease progresses, what you eat and drink, and what you avoid or eliminate from your diet holds the key to the progression of the ailment. This is where your rheumatologist would offer you sage advice on how the biology and progression of your illness can be managed. This would include encouraging you to eat fruits like bananas for their Vitamin B6; citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and avocados for their natural Vitamin C; vegetables like broccoli and carrots for their antioxidants; nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts.

Eliminate or reduce radically:
Processed foods, dairy products, fries, carbohydrate or sugar-rich foods, excess salt, alcohol, and tobacco should be avoided like poison. Though you wouldn’t have thought so, tomatoes and too much coffee aggravate your condition.

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors