Did you know that education is listed as the critical first step in the treatment of Osteoarthritis by the American College of Rheumatology? Education is clearly recognized as an important component of Osteoarthritis therapy and it is important that physicians educate their patients to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of their disease. However, it is equally important that you educate yourself on the causes, symptoms, treatments and the realistic outcomes for your Osteoarthritis. It is essential that you take a very active role in your disease and understand the benefits of being active in the management of your disease. The most important role you can take is knowing the essential questions to ask your doctor. Research has shown that the answers to the following 10 questions can greatly improve treatment outcomes.
1. What is the proper full name of my disease?
2. What was the specific cause or causes of my disease?
3. Why or how did my disease start?
4. What will the effects of my disease be to me?
5. How does it work?
6. How severe is my disease?
7. Will I have it permanently? Is there a cure?
8. What are the most likely limitations my disease will cause me?
9. What are my treatment options? Which do you think will work best? Why those?
10. What are the most important results you hope to achieve with treating my disease?
Previously, clinical trials have been done in numerous diseases including: Depression in the elderly, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis using this same set of 10 questions. In all these previous studies, these questions were used to determine if the level of patient education affected compliance with their physician’s instructions and treatment results. Interestingly, in all these previous studies, low patient education was found to be the single most important factor to influence not only compliance with their doctor’s instructions (treatments), but also was found to be the single greatest influence on treatment results including controlling pain! Not the doctor, not the specific treatments, only patient education.
Specifically in Osteoarthritis, research has shown that most patient’s have little understanding of their disease. This leads to poorer treatment results, prognosis, and quality of life including higher levels of pain. For example, in one clinical trial I did on Osteoarthritis, some patients actually made their joint pain worse. These patients incorrectly believed that it was best to be inactive in order to reduce pain and to protect their joints. In fact, the lack of activity can not only worsen joint pain, but can also lead to numerous other negative results including muscle weakening, disability, and negative Cardiovascular effects. Because of the potential harmful risks taken by patients who have little knowledge of their disease, it is critical for patients to understand their disease.
Clearly there are differences between the patient and the doctor in their knowledge of Osteoarthritis. However, the objective should be for you to have a general understanding of your disease, the various treatment options, and why specific treatments will be used. In previous research, when patients had little knowledge of their disease, resulted in lower compliance with their doctors prescribed treatments. The outcome of your medical treatment results is dependent on your level of awareness of Osteoarthritis. The greater your understanding of your disease, the better you can make informed decisions regarding your overall health.
Asking open-ended questions like these may seem difficult because of the time required. However, it is not necessary or realistic to discuss all of these questions in one appointment with your doctor. Instead, it is recommended to discuss these questions over a few appointments. The information obtained from asking all these open-ended questions has been shown to be very valuable for a patient to improve their treatment results. During a clinical trial I did on Osteoarthritis, I suggested that patients print out this list of questions and bring them along to their appointment.
You can go to the website to download and print this list of questions which includes space to write down the answers provided by your doctor during your discussions.
Dr. Samuel Dyer-
Has done clinical research on Osteoarthritis including investigating the communication between a doctor and a patient, and investigating the most successful treatment outcomes including various medicines, supplements, and specific diets to reduce pain and symptoms. Find a wealth of credible information, learn the latest research and find numerous recommended products, including Glucosamine, to manage pain and and other symptoms by going to: http://www.IHaveOsteoarthritis.com