What to ask a GP

Hi everyone,

This is my first post here (I usually chuck all my Qs to reddit.com/r/rheumatoid/ but a lot of the time there are not many people from the UK who can give me sensible answers).

So onto my question:

I have been diagnosed with Seropositive RA last July, been on a mixture of Prednisolone and Methotrexate since then and am now slowly winding down the Prednisolone. I think I am doing well on everything but as I am winding down on the steroids (15 mg down to 5 so far) I am finding everything hurting more (mainly knuckles and ankles).

My work have been absolutely amazing so far and have done a workplace assessment and now are sending me for a doctors appointment (not my usual GP/specialist) for a consultation/second opinion (I think it will mainly be about pain management). I have a specialist Rheumatologist I see about once every 2-3 months so am not really sure what to ask the GP when I see him. Maybe a silly question but - what do you think I should ask about?

Julie

3 Replies

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  • Blimey, that's quite a time to be on Pred if it's not your only option (ie Pred usually only used longish term if nothing else works/is tolerated) so hope you're tapering carefully. Next time you see your rheumy sounds as if you need to push a bit on getting your RA under better control.

    If it's a generalist rather than someone who specialises in rheumatology I guess there's no point asking for views on long term prognosis for you, or other disease specific stuff. So it seems to me that if you've not done this with rheumy/GP it's a good opportunity to ask about things that often no time to do in rheumy appointments - so checking all the associated things like vit D, cholesterol, cardiovascular system etc to make sure that you're doing all you can to avoid nasty side effects of RA. And pain control sounds good too.

  • Yeah I know what you men about the Pred, don't get me wrong, it was wonderful to not feel like I had RA in the first few months of having it but now I have more acne then when I was a teenager and I every time I taper down a bit on it everything flares and I get headaches.

    Thank you for your advice :)

  • Hiya Julie & welcome. Whilst I'm not au fait with workplace assessments my expectations of an appointment such as this with a health-care professional would be that it would be led by him/her, there should be a particular process I would think. Maybe taking the assessments already done & asking you what you can or can't manage, similar to an assessment for benefits such as PIP, though not as thorough? Things like how often you would need a break, whether you're capable of completing specific parts of responsibilities your within your limits without causing too much strain with repetitive movements, could they be a struggle or not, would you need help with certain things to make your job easier for you, things like that.

    As I say, only my view but of course all in an effort to help you in your working environment.

    I can empathise with your steroid withdrawal. I'm also on MTX & remain on a low dose maintenance steroid, 3 years on them now because when I try to taper I flare. I feel in my case it's lazy doctoring, confirmed by a locum Rheumy I saw towards the end of last year. Maybe not so much in your case if you see your Rheumy regularly, yours possibly has plans in place to add another DMARD in an effort control you better. This has been discussed with me but as yet no action taken. Anyhow, I'm sure it'll all work out in the wash!

    I hope you enjoy being here & good luck for your appointment.

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