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First Appointment

Hi I've got my first appointment tomorrow! I really don't know what to expect I've to take a sample with me, can you please give me some advice on what I should say ect... and if anyone can tell me what do they do is there x rays or what ?

Must admit I'm feeling very anxious, just wondering what the outcome will be .

Thanks in advance Liz 😐

7 Replies

Hiya Liz, well good luck tomorrow!! Take a list of questions and photos of swelling if you have any or a pain score if you have one,

The doc generally asks you questions o. How your illness started, where the pain is etc, how it's affecting you, don't be brave tell them how it is!

Then they generally do a physical exam and start the process of working out your DAS ( disease activity score) score, it's a guide to how controlled you are with RA. It includes where the pain or swelling is and blood results of how high inflammation in your body is , so they have to wait in blood results for that.

I did get my blood taken that day and was introduced to my nurse specialist who gave me loads of written information.

Occasionally you have to wait on X-rays or ultrasound scans bug they will give you a follow up appointment quite quickly.

I was lucky in some ways as I was admitted as an emergency and started drug treatment within days, sometimes it can take longer for them to gather enough information to make the diagnosis. The NRAS website has loads of info on it too. But make sure you have good pain relief from them before you leave.

Hope it goes well and you get some answers x

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Thanks for your advice Allanah, I haven't any photos or pain chart but ill wait and see what tomorrow brings. Sometimes I just think the worst .

Thanks again 😊

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And how tired you are. Take a list of any medications including any over the counter you are currently taking - even needing to take paracetamol/ibuprofen often is important.

We have a questionnaire to fill out first regarding everyday tasks and how you do them 'no difficulty, some difficulty or not at all'. Try and be as honest as you can - my husband often questions (or just frowns at me) which box I tick.

Mine usually do blood pressure and weight (shoes and cardigan come off) as well.

I try to wear a short sleeved top and trousers I know will push up above my knee then I don't usually have to undress too much.

If possible try and take someone with you as it is so easy to forget what you wanted to ask and if they have also seen your list of questions it can help.

Be prepared not to get any definitive answers tomorrow as other tests if needed (blood or x-ray) may not be ready. Farm


Hi Lizmac10,

I'm sure lots of people on HU will have hints and tips about what to expect from your first appointment but do also have a look at the NRAS website as we have a special section all about what to expect along your RA jouney, and step 3 is all about your first appointment with a rheumatologist

Depending on how your first appointment goes, if you have anything you wish to discuss, do give the NRAS Helpline team a call on free phone 0800 298 7650.

With kind regards

Emma - NRAS


Hiya Liz. I think one of the best things you can do is to write down all the things I'm sure you've been thinking, the questions you have and would like answers to so you're fully prepared. List any medications you're taking on a regular basis, anything you're allergic to, any operations or complications you've had. If you feel you need it, take a notebook to make notes as you'll be fed information you wouldn't ordinarily come across such as any medication he prescribes & how & when to take it, so you can write it how you understand it. Don't rely on the Rheumy's handwriting if he writes anything down, I'm sure you know all doctors writing is illegible to anyone but themselves! Before you go in for the consultation a nurse will probably weigh & measure you, may check your bp & take your midstream urine sample. You'll most likely have an examination to determine your DAS 28 score so be prepared for that, best knicks on (I wasn't & was mortified when my bra & knicks didn't match)! If bloods haven't already been done he'll probably request those & he may also ask for x rays to be done.

It's a bit late now but I was advised by my GP to stop taking the pain relief & anti inflammatory she'd prescribed me whilst waiting for my diagnostic appointment to give true bloods & imaging resuits to base his treatment on.

If possible ask someone who knows you well to accompany you, if only for support. It is daunting the first appointment & even if you take notes it is easy to miss something. My husband still comes with me to mine, there's always something crops up he remembers that I'd have missed!

Think I've covered everything!!! I hope you get the answers & treatment you need. Do let's us know how it goes.

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Hi, all the advice above is good. Every rheumatologist differs a little, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is to tell it as it is, you're not whingeing, you're giving the information that is needed to properly diagnose your disease, so that you get the appropriate treatment. It's a good idea to take a few notes, unless you have someone with you to do that. If you don't understand anything, don't be afraid to ask.

It's a good idea to ask if they have a helpline, in case you need advice between appointments.

Everyone has felt worried and apprehensive before that first visit. I do hope it goes well, do let us know, and don't forget the NRAS helpline if you would like to talk things through.

Good luck. M x

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Thanks to every one for there help and advice, it's much appreciated. liz x


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