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.
One of the hardest things about having RA is that you never know when you may have a flare of symptoms. If you've gone a long time without one, it can come as a shock. During flares, some people feel frustrated and wonder if they did something wrong.
So let's clear the air at the start. No one can predict when and why flares occur. It's not your fault. The best way to keep flares at bay is to take your RA medications consistently. But there are some things you can do to reduce the odds of a flare...