You may initially bring your symptoms to the attention of your family doctor, your dentist or your eye doctor. However, you may eventually be referred to a rheumatologist — a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions — for diagnosis and treatment.
What you can do
You may want to write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about your medical problems, past and present
- Information about the medical problems of your parents or siblings
- All the medications and dietary supplements you take
- Questions you want to ask the doctor
For Sjogren's syndrome, some basic questions you may want to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes?
- Do I need any tests to confirm the diagnosis?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- How soon can I expect my symptoms to improve with treatment?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medication you're prescribing?
- Am I at risk of long-term complications from this condition?
- I have other health conditions. How best can I manage them together?
- When should I be seen for a follow-up exam?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed materials that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend for more information?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Questions that might come up:
Aug. 06, 2011
- When did you first notice eye discomfort or dry mouth?
- Did any other new symptoms appear about the same time?
- Do your symptoms follow any pattern — getting worse as the day passes or causing more trouble indoors than outside?
- Do you feel thirstier than usual?
- What beverages do you drink with meals?
- How often do you drink soda, coffee or tea, or an energy drink?
- How much alcohol do you drink?
- Do you use recreational drugs?
- Do you have any chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or arthritis?
- Have you recently started any new medications?
- Do you have any close relatives with rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or a similar disease?
- Questions and answers about Sjogren's syndrome. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sjogrens_Syndrome/default.asp. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Kruszka P, et al. Diagnosis and management of Sjogren syndrome. American Family Physician. 2009;79:465.
- Naguwa S, et al. Sjogren's syndrome. In: Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/137554062-3/841563606/1492/1035.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2805-5..50294-9_13050. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Sjogren's syndrome. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/sjogrens.asp. Accessed July 6, 2011.
- Fox R, et al. Treatment of Sjogren's syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed July 6, 2011.