As a person with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you know you have a tough opponent.
Battling RA is hard work. But you are not alone. You and your doctor should be a
team. Together, you can make a difference in how well your RA symptoms are managed.
Setting goals for your RA treatment
Getting the best-possible control over your RA is always a goal for treatment. But
what does this mean on a month-to-month basis? This is an important question to
discuss with your doctor. If you have not set specific goals for your RA treatment,
be sure to do so at your next visit. Your treatment goals may be things your doctor
wants to see on lab tests, improvements in everyday function, and things you want
to accomplish. Putting your goals into words or specific targets will help you and
your doctor stay focused as a team.
Monitoring your RA treatment
Keeping close tabs on your RA treatment is key. Your doctor looks for signs of "active"
disease. More active disease means a greater risk of joint damage. Also, the longer
that RA is highly active, the greater the risk of damage. So, frequent monitoring
by your doctor is important, especially during times when RA is active.
Joint damage can be seen on X-rays or other images taken of your joints. To measure
disease activity, your doctor may count how many of your joints are tender and swollen.
Certain lab tests also measure how active RA is at that time.
You can prepare for doctor visits by keeping track of your symptoms. A simple way
to do this is to answer a few questions. For example, how much pain is your RA causing?
How easy or difficult is it for you to dress yourself?
Experts on RA suggest that doctors ask patients these questions at each visit to
check how well an RA treatment is working. These questions are part of a standard
set of questions used to see if their RA patients are getting better or worse.
Recognizing when treatment goals are not being met
Research studies show that a "tight control" approach to RA is a treatment goal.
Tight control means getting disease activity level as low as possible as quickly
as possible, and keeping it low. This approach has been shown to lead to less joint
damage and better overall function in people with RA.
If you are still having signs and symptoms of RA, talk to your doctor about what
steps might be taken and what treatment options may be best for you. If your treatment
goals are not being met, it is important not to delay making changes to gain better
control. Finding the right medicine may help.
Learn about the fast and lasting improvements that may be possible with CIMZIA
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