Becoming your own health advocate can sound like a daunting task, but it really is an important part of taking control of your disease. No one knows your body better than you do. It is up to you to communicate what is going on with your doctor(s) and other health care professionals. One of the most important things that you can do for yourself in taking charge of your health care is to find a doctor that you feel comfortable with. Find one that listens to what you are telling them and respects you. If you don’t feel your doctor is listening to you and respecting you, it may be time to look for a new one. They are supposed to be working for you in your best interest, if you feel that they aren’t, find a new one.
Once you feel comfortable with your choice of doctor, the next important step is to be prepared. Do some research on your condition. Make a list of questions to bring with you to the doctor’s office. List the questions in order of importance to you.
Bring a note pad with your questions to the doctors office with you. Ask questions and write down the doctor’s answer. It’s really easy to forget what the doctor said when you are sitting there in a paper dress. If additional testing is needed, ask why and how the procedure will work. Most importantly, make sure that you understand the answer to your questions. If you don’t understand, make sure to communicate that with the doctor so that they can explain things in a way that you can understand.
Keep a health journal. Log how you are feeling from day to day. Write down any changes to your diet or medications. Report to the doctor anything that is out of the ordinary. Keep a record of all the medications that you are taking and from which doctor. If another doctor or specialist changes your medication or you start taking any supplements, write it down to share at your next visit.
Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. Or even a third opinion if necessary. This is your body and your good health. It is up to you to make sure that the professionals that you see are working with you to maintain your health.