As a personal health advocate, one of my missions is to help you realize the role you can take in your health care choices.
I always tell my clients that your Doctor is your partner, not your boss. Although you go to a health professional because you cannot be your own doctor, just because you trust them and like them doesn’t mean that you should follow their recommendations without asking questions and doing your own research.
Many of my clients agree with this idea in theory, but don’t feel like they know what questions to ask and are nervous about questioning their doctor’s opinion.
To feel confident about asking questions and getting more information, you might first consider the fact that: Doctors do not always have all the answers. They know what they know based on a mix of their education, life experiences, the literature they read and symposiums they attend. These four (4) ingredients combine to create their unique philosophy of medicine.
However, I also believe you also have a philosophy, belief system, and innate sense in knowing what is right for your body.
Before you ask your doctor questions, it would help if you know what you believe and what your ideal treatment and doctor-patient relationship should look like. It is of course important to go in and be flexible and willing to hear other perspectives, but before you go into your appointment you want to remember who you are and what you want.
- Are you interested in the quickest fix that may create other health problems or would you rather an approach that leads to a long term return to wellness?
- Would you rather go on drugs or undergo surgery instead of changing your lifestyle (such as diet, exercise, alternative treatments and supplements)?
- These can be difficult questions for people who are in pain and suffering daily with different types of illnesses.
80% of chronic illness in this country can be reversed with diet, exercise and supplements (i.e: coronary artery disease, obesity and diabetes).
I recently spoke with a friend who has had a chronic cough for months on end. She has gone to many doctors seeking answers, but she still has her cough. She finally decided to get a 2nd Opinion and went to see a Pulmonologist who listened to her and did some rather extensive testing. She returned to see her doctor for the follow up and was excited to learn she had GERD. Now she left her consultation very excited and armed with a prescription that would fix her problem along with some dietary suggestions. When she got home she called to tell me she had a diagnosis and was going to take a certain medication. After chatting with her, I sent her some information about the medication she was going to take and what the possible harm might be. I also sent her some articles on what the natural alternatives might be.
Is this you? My friend is incredibly bright. She is thoughtful, creative, thorough, and has an inquiring mind. However, she was so excited to finally have what she hopes is the answer to her problems that she was willing to do anything to get rid of this cough, no questions asked, until I reminded her of her health philosophy.
So, what can you do when you go home with that long-awaited diagnosis and prescription?
Don’t fill the script so fast if your symptoms aren’t worsening or life threatening and/or if you have some time to consider the alternative options. Do you understand enough about the medication being prescribed along with its pros and cons.
Remember: If you don’t like your first opinion you can get a 2nd opinion!
One of the leading causes of accidental death is through errors within EHR systems that are fragmented, or the failure of a Doctor to check on the other medications you might be taking. You can enter all your medications in an online system and update it as changes are made.
Look for natural alternatives if that is what you believe is best for you. It may not be your current Doctor’s approach/philosophy to start with. He or she may have little to no exposure with functional approaches as an alternative to invasive drugs and surgery. Often, there are other options and you may only be able to get good advice about those options from Practitioners who frequently utilize them.
Take responsibility for your healthcare. Ultimately, you only have one body and you have the right to decide whether to follow your current doctor’s recommendations or to seek alternative opinions. It is your right to be provided with full and informed consent, no matter what your doctor believes.
Empowering you to be your best health advocate!
My passion, my life, your health!