Living with a chronic rheumatic condition be difficult. You may experience flares, aches, pains, or worse. Whenever something unexpected comes up, it’s important to call your doctor. However, many people may be hesitant to reach out to their doctor, as they’re not sure when it’s appropriate or especially necessary.
These 10 signs will help you determine when to make the call when living with a chronic condition:
Unusual Pain or Chills
Aches, pains, and chills are common for those struggling with rheumatic or other chronic conditions. However, if the sensations are unlike those you’ve felt before, there may be something else causing the pain. Call your doctor right away in case medical aid is needed.
New medications can cause harmful adverse reactions. If you’ve recently started a new medication and experience reactions, call your doctor. Some patients may have allergies that could cause swelling of the throat or debilitating pains. A case like this would require immediate medical attention.
Pain Isn’t Improving with Treatment or Lifestyle Changes
Just like with any medication, lifestyle change such as exercise and diet, should help reduce symptoms of autoimmune diseases. If you’ve incorporated these changes into your routine, and have no noticeable improvements, call your doctor. It may be time to set an appointment to see why you’re not seeing daily improvements in your health.
New Pain in Different Areas
Joint pain and muscle pain are common with rheumatic diseases. However, if you feel pain in a new area, it’s time to get in touch with your doctor. The new pain may or may not be directly caused by your condition, but it’s a safe decision to get the pain evaluated.
Many medications for rheumatic diseases inhibit the immune system’s ability to fight infections. In fact, that’s the goal—to stop the immune system from attacking healthy tissue. Although fevers are common symptoms when living with chronic conditions, it may mean there’s an infection developing. If you have a high fever, you should call your doctor to check for an infection.
Depression and anxiety often affect those with rheumatic conditions. It can be tough to bear the effects of rheumatic conditions as they can cause changes in everyday life. If you experience any mood-related issues, speak to your doctor. There may be additional medication or alternative therapies to help combat depression-like symptoms.
Numbness or Tingling Sensations
Some rheumatic conditions can affect the nerves in your hands or feet. Individuals with RA are at an increased risk for developing Rheumatic Vasculitis, a disease where blood vessels become inflamed. If you experience numbness or tingling sensations in your hands or feet, talk about it with your doctor.
Stomach Pain or Cramps
Medications that treat RA and other diseases can cause stomach pain or ulcers. If you feel any pain or get unwarranted cramps in your stomach, speak with your doctor. The pain may be caused by your medication, and you may need to be put on a new medication.
Dryness in the Mouth or Eyes
If you experience dryness in your mouth, eyes, skin, or other areas, speak with your doctor. Sjogren’s Syndrome is a common comorbidity of rheumatoid arthritis, meaning those with RA have a greater chance of developing it. The disease creates dryness that affects various parts of the body.
You’re Trying a New Therapy
If you’re considering a new natural therapy, diet, or exercise program, speak with your doctor first. Your rheumatologist or primary care provider needs to know everything that may impact your health, especially when living with a chronic condition. Consult with your doctor before starting anything new.