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Why it’s important to track your symptoms.

Every day can be different when you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Some days you feel well. Other days you may have pain in one part of your body, and in a different part the next day. It’s hard to know when your RA will flare up, how long a flare-up will last, or how much it will affect your daily life. It’s hard to keep track of it all which may make it hard to tell your doctor how you are doing. Between doctor appointments, it helps to track things like:

Which joints hurt and how much they hurt (usually on a scale of 1 to 10)

  • How long your pain or stiffness lasts
  • What relieves your pain or stiffness
  • How often you have to take other pain medications (over-the-counter or prescribed) and how well they work for you
  • Your energy level
  • How well you are sleeping
  • Your nighttime pain
  • Your medications
  • Any side effects of your medications
  • What might have triggered a flare-up

Keeping track of your symptoms, either by writing them in a journal or on a calendar or using an app, helps you and your doctor:

  • See how your RA is affecting you each day. This helps give both you and your doctor a clearer picture of how you are doing and how well your treatment is working.
  • Learn what some of your triggers are, for example, are there certain foods, activities, or stressors that seem to cause a flare-up.
  • Learn what things help you feel better or worse.
  • Notice that a flare-up may be starting. This may let treatment start earlier.

Tracking your symptoms is more than observing. It can help guide decisions about your care and help you feel more in control.

This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about your medical condition and prior to starting any new treatment. CVS Specialty assumes no liability whatsoever for the information provided or for any diagnosis or treatment made as a result, nor is it responsible for the reliability of the content.

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