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Diagnosing Arthritis: Prepare for Your First Doctor's Appointment

Part of the Arthritis For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you think you have arthritis, get the best chance for help by being fully prepared for your first doctor's appointment. Diagnosing arthritis — or any other medical condition — is easier if your doctor has your full medical history, including:

  • Any accidents or injuries that you've sustained

  • Diseases that run in your family

  • Illnesses you've had (especially recently)

  • Other problems, including recent weight loss, depression, sleep disturbances, aches and pain, skin changes, and fatigue

Before your talk to a doctor about arthritis, you should also consider compiling a list of questions you want answered. That list may include some of these:

  • How did you determine that I have this particular kind of arthritis?

  • What's causing my arthritis?

  • What kinds of treatment do you recommend?

  • What outcome can I expect?

  • Will I need surgery? If so, how long can I wait before I have it?

  • What will happen if I do nothing?

  • What will my treatment cost?

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