BE THE ADVOCATE

If you are a parent, you’ll be able to relate to this. Let’s say you have a child find-your-voicewho is having issues in school. You get called to the school and the professionals give you a “diagnosis” of what they think the problem is.  They make specific recommendations that don’t seem to make sense to you based on how you know your child. Would you say “OK, great”, and take their advice?  Probably not. I bet many of you would start doing some research to find out what did make sense. You would explore options, find alternative solutions, and figure out a plan. Then, you would advocate on behalf of your child.

We need to do the same thing when it comes to our health. While the doctor has knowledge, he/she is  ultimately not responsible for your health…….you are. If your doctor gives you a diagnosis that doesn’t seem to fit,  you need to do just what you would have done above: educate yourself, research alternatives, and be your own advocate.

If you’re in your in your 40’s or older, you have to start paying attention to the risk factors of heart disease since this is what’s killing us. This includes having a basic understanding of…..

  • your family history of heart disease
  • elevated blood pressure (hypertension)
  • elevated “bad” cholesterol (LDL)
  • elevated triglycerides (fat in the blood)
  • low “good” cholesterol (HDL)
  • the risks of central obesity
  • the risks of slightly elevated blood sugar (pre-diabetes or insulin resistance)

Clearly, this list is not long and with reputable internet sites, you can become proficient very quickly.

Work with your doctor—please don’t just take his/her word as “gospel”–especially when it comes to things that don’t make sense to you. Educate yourself on the basics. Know what your blood pressure is. (“132 over ‘something’”, doesn’t count.) Question alternatives to medications. Know what the side effects are. Get copies of your blood tests and other diagnostic tests for your own records. Be an advocate. And just like you would for your child with an “issue”, make a plan and be in charge.

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    themedicalmamacom said,

    I work healthcare and I can confidently say there are a lot of “bad” doctors out there that just throw diagnosis around to get the patient in and out quickly. I agree, you need to educate yourself. If you think what they have to say is not working with you it is okay to find a new doctor. I know we’ve had patients where that is the case. The doctor and the patient’s opinion are just not working well together. The patient doesn’t think they “click” very well together, so we refer them to other doctors. It’s sad, but it happens.

    • 2

      Rhonda said,

      Thank you for this comment!! I think working together makes so many interactions better! Often times, patients feel intimated by their doctors and are reluctant to speak out. OR, other times you have doctors with big egos who want to be in charge. I say…..keep shopping around until you find the right doctor for you. For me, a doctor must listen to me……really listen. If they don’t, I won’t go back.


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