What should I tell the doctor about arthritis and my medical history?

Always tell your doctor:

  • your risk factors
  • any conditions you have so that your doctor can make informed judgments about what is causing your symptoms and the most appropriate treatment for you
  • the names of all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take
  • the amount of alcohol and other recreational drugs you consume, including nicotine and caffeine

See Am I at Risk for Osteoarthritis? to learn more about your risk factors. Be prepared to tell the doctor about your life, including what you do for work and your regular activities. Factors such as repetitive joint use or an old injury can offer important clues about your condition.

Could my other health problems cause arthritis?

Other conditions can create joint problems that lead to osteoarthritis. This is called secondary osteoarthritis. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any of the conditions on the list Conditions That Can Cause Secondary Osteoarthritis.

Tell your doctor if you've ever broken a bone. A fracture can speed up the development of osteoarthritis at the site where it occurs by disrupting the bone, cartilage, or ligaments. This can put added stress on a joint, make it unstable, and, thus, put it at risk for developing osteoarthritis.

Could the drugs I use cause arthritis?

Some medications have side effects that include bone, joint, or muscle pain or stiffness. For example, certain cholesterol-lowering medicines may cause muscle pain as a side effect. That's why it's important to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

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