Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the joints. It can also affect other body systems, such as the skin, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. It is classified as an autoimmune disorder because it occurs when the immune system attacks parts of the body. Receiving a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis can be emotional and means seeing a doctor more frequently than your aging relative may want to. When an older adult is referred to a rheumatologist for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, they may feel anxious and uncertain about what will happen at the appointment.
Preparing for the Appointment
To make the most out of the senior’s first appointment, it can be helpful to do some prep work ahead of time. Some things that can make the appointment go more smoothly and have the greatest impact are:
- Ask the older adult to talk to you about the symptoms they’ve had. Take notes about the earliest symptoms they recall and about changes they’ve experienced over time. Bring the notes with to the appointment.
- Help the senior to create a family medical history. Ask about any conditions their parents, grandparents, or siblings have had.
- Create a medication list of all prescription and over the counter medications they are taking. If you don’t have time to do this, you can also just place all of their medications in a bag and take them with.
- Write down any questions you or your family member have. It can be easy to forget them because of the stress and activity of the appointment.
What to Expect
The first thing that will happen during the visit to the rheumatoid arthritis is talking to the doctor. He or she will ask for information about medical history, symptoms, and more. There may also be a great deal of paperwork to complete.
After the medical history part of the appointment is complete, the doctor will perform a physical exam. In addition to the usual things, like taking a blood pressure reading, the doctor will also examine the senior’s entire body, looking for inflammation. The doctor will check each joint, pressing on them to see if there is any pain and asking the senior to bend them to observe motion. Finally, the doctor may draw blood samples or samples of joint fluid.
Knowing what the appointment may be like can help your aging relative to feel more comfortable. It can also help to have a trusted family member or senior care provider along to support them. A senior care provider can drive the older adult to their appointment and assist them to complete paperwork. The senior care provider can either wait in the waiting room or attend the appointment with the senior, depending on the senior’s preference.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Mountain View, CA, please contact the caring staff at Bay Area Home Care. Call today 650-938-4031.