Being a great patient is a matter of taking an active role in your health care and getting the facts about a few important health care issues. Your doctor is your partner in healthy living – and there are a few key facts that he or she would like you to know.
Here are some of the top issues that you need to know about in order to be healthier and have a great doctor-patient relationship:
If Overweight, Losing Just 10% of Your Weight Will Do You a World of Good
When you’re overweight or obese, it can be frustrating to look at the scale and realize that you need to lose 40, 60 or 80 lbs. However, losing just 10% of your weight is a much more doable goal, and can give you a lot of health benefits. If you’re 200 lbs, the 10% goal is just 20 lbs total.
Losing 10% of your current weight can help improve your heart health and lower cholesterol levels. You’ll have better blood pressure and decrease your risk for diabetes. Your joints and spine will feel less pain because you won’t be carrying as much weight. Your risk for colon and breast cancer will drop. And finally, you’ll have more energy, which will make it easier to exercise more and lose even more weight.
Don’t Believe Everything You See on TV or the Internet
Doctors are facing a huge challenge with misinformation online and on television. Sometimes patients get a particular treatment or prescription into their mind and are convinced that it’s the best option for them. As a patient, you need to trust your doctor’s opinion and not have your mind set on something that you saw on television or read online. This goes for medical conditions as well as specific treatments or prescription medication. Reading something or seeing something and performing a self diagnosis isn’t smart healthcare. Discuss your options with your doctor, let him or her know your concerns and let them make a decision with you.
Herbal Supplements Aren’t Always Safe
Although the FDA regulates herbal supplements, they do so as foods and not drugs. Unlike prescription medication, manufacturers do not have to seek FDA approval before they bring herbal supplements to the market. They can claim certain health benefits – but only if they have supporting research and include a disclaimer from the FDA. Once an herbal supplement is on the market, the FDA will monitor its safety.
However, even if an herbal supplement stays on the market long term, it may not be safe with your prescription medications. Be sure that you let your doctor know about everything that you are taking, and discuss your options before you start taking a new supplement. By doing this, you can avoid serious side effects. You should also avoid supplements if you’re pregnant, breast-feeding, using a blood thinner or having surgery.
Make Good Use of Your Appointment Time
Your doctor is a partner in your health care. But it’s also your responsibility to give them the information that they need to help you. Forgetting to mention important details during your appointment, waiting until the last minute to discuss your problems or ignoring important instructions can impact your level of health care.
Start out by being up front at the start of the appointment about any major changes in your health. Be honest with your answers. If you don’t exercise, you smoke cigarettes or drink a little too much, tell the truth. Any of these truths can and likely will affect your care. Listen to your doctor’s advice and take notes if you have to. Having a pad of paper and a pencil can help you remember important details later on – especially if you have a new treatment or new prescription.
Reducing Your Stress Levels Can Improve Your Life
Everyone lives with a little stress, but if you find yourself constantly overwhelmed and stressed out, your health can suffer. Your doctor’s tips for stress reduction will not only make you feel better but can also have some powerful physiological effects. You can reduce your cortisol levels, improve your response time and reflexes and boost your immune system. During your next appointment, talk to your doctor about specific techniques that you can use to reduce your stress levels.
Knowing these important health facts can help you lead a healthier life and work with your doctor as a partner in your health care.