After fighting joint pain, fevers, fatigue, and swelling, a WebMD Community member writes that she has just been diagnosed with RA. She says her hands and wrists hurt, her knees feel locked, and she can't put any weight on her elbows without feeling pain. She's scared and asks what to expect -- from her illness and from the rheumatologist.
Members reassured her that she's not alone and told her what would most likely happen at her doctor visit. She can expect questions about her symptoms -- what they are, when they started, how long they last, and what makes them better or worse. The rheumatologist will look at her joints for swelling, redness, and tenderness. She'll have blood work, possibly X-rays, and will talk about medications.
When the burly, 45-year-old construction worker and heavy equipment operator first came to see rheumatologist Eric Matteson, MD, at the Mayo Clinic in the summer of 2006, he didn't look like the strong, vigorous man he'd once been. He had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for about three months. It had gotten so bad that he was no longer able to work, and he needed rheumatoid arthritis medication badly.
Matteson noted the man's rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was particularly aggressive, with more...