Partnering With Your Healthcare Team

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: December 2022

Being diagnosed with axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) can be overwhelming. Talking with your doctor about your concerns and asking questions can help you understand your diagnosis better and create a plan for managing the condition.1

But your doctor is not in it alone. When you partner with them and take an active role in your care, you feel more in control of the situation. Working with a care team that understands axSpA is essential in managing the condition and living a healthy life.1

Learn about your condition

If you have an axSpA spectrum condition, learn as much as you can about your condition. This will help you understand the disease, how it progresses, what to expect, and things to watch out for. When you know more about your health, you can ask questions about what might be wrong and what treatments are best for you.1

Ask your doctor about where to get more information and support. Your doctor can help you find resources like websites, blogs, and social media groups that offer up-to-date information and tips from other people living with axSpA.1

Be prepared for your doctor's appointments

Sometimes it is hard to remember all the questions you want to ask or topics you need to discuss with your doctor. Before your appointments, make a list of any questions you have about your condition and what treatments you think might work best for you. Consider bringing a friend or family member with you for support so they can help you remember things you might forget.1

Be sure to track your symptoms and how they change over time. Bring this information with you to the doctor. This can help your doctor better understand what is happening with your condition.1,2

If a treatment option interests you, discuss it with your doctor. You can learn more about how it works and whether it is the right choice for you.1,2

Be honest and thorough

A trusting relationship with your doctor is important for getting the best care. Describe the symptoms or issues you are experiencing as fully and accurately as possible. Your doctor can help only if they understand what is happening in your body. Be honest and open about your health behaviors or lifestyle choices that might affect your axSpA spectrum condition.2

Ask questions

Asking questions helps you understand your condition and learn about potential treatments. Your doctor is there to answer any questions, so do not be afraid to speak up if something is not clear. A good doctor welcomes questions and will be happy to discuss your concerns.1,2

Find the right fit

If you are unsatisfied with the care you received or the treatment plan your doctor proposed, it is okay to seek a second opinion. This does not mean your first doctor was wrong or bad. It simply means you want to explore other possibilities. You may be able to find someone who is a better fit for you.3

To seek a second opinion, ask your support network about positive experiences they have had with specific doctors or practices. Look at online reviews and ratings. Ask your insurance provider which specialists your insurance plan covers.3

In the end, finding a doctor you feel comfortable with, and one who is willing to help you make a treatment plan that meets your needs, is the most important thing.3

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