Do You Need To Go Back To The Rheumatologist?

When a rheumatologist first diagnoses you and prescribes medication to manage your condition, it's normal to feel a big sense of relief. Finally, you have answers and a treatment that works, and you're ready to put the pain and discomfort behind you. However, for many patients, treating a rheumatic disorder involves continual reconsideration and re-evaluation with the help of your rheumatologist. So, as you continue with your life, it's important that you remain aware of the signs you need to go back to the rheumatologist for more help.

You have a dry mouth or dry eyes.

Dry mouth and dry eyes are a symptom of rheumatic conditions. Because they are seemingly minor compared to other rheumatic symptoms, they often go overlooked. However, these symptoms can indicate your rheumatic condition is not being as well managed by your medications as it could be. And left untreated, they could lead to other consequences like tooth decay and eye infections. So, if your eyes and mouth ever seem to feel dry and cottony, you should call your rheumatologist. They may need to adjust your medication dose or prescribe a different medication to keep these symptoms under closer control.

You're tired all the time.

Often, patients don't realize tiredness is related to their rheumatic disorder. They may be so relieved to no longer be experiencing joint pain, headaches, and other symptoms that they don't really realize they're still feeling fatigued or overly tired. But in fact, tiredness and exhaustion are common symptoms of an array of rheumatic disorders, from lupus to RA. They can also be a side effect of medications. So, if you're tired in spite of getting a full 7 to 8 hours of sleep most nights, definitely let your rheumatologist know.

You've been getting sick a lot.

Rheumatic disorders are autoimmune disorders, which means the medications prescribed to treat them work, in part, but suppressing your immune system. An unfortunate side effect of this can be that you are more susceptible to colds and the flu. If you're getting sick all of the time, let your rheumatologist know. They might need to reduce your medication dose, give you a different medication, or even just give you some tips for better avoiding illness when on these medications.

Being prescribed medications for your rheumatic disorder is not the end; it's the beginning. Continue to consult with your rheumatologist, especially if you experience any of the things above.