Today I'm going to talk about how to take the first step to seize control of your own health. This step begins with your primary care doctor.
Outpatient clinics are hectic--you have a very short period of time to communicate your health concerns & give your doctor the opportunity to use their professional training & clinical judgment to assist you. The result is often leaving appointments feeling confused about the treatment plan and having forgotten to ask about a key medical symptom that has been worrying you!
But this doesn't have to be the case! There are a few simple things that you can do to get the professional best out of your doctor and leave appointments feeling empowered to take charge of your own health!
It will require some work on your part but the benefits are tremendous! Are you ready to get started? In the comments section of this post let me know if you are COMMITTED to taking these steps and then lets check in next week to see if you were able to follow through!!:-)
Your first goal is to organize yourself as a patient to enable your doctor to get all the data they need to fully focus on and address your key medical problems.
As you can probably tell, I like writing lists so guess what? Its time for another list! This time its YOUR list of assignments for the months of January and February 2012. :-)
Here are the first three tasks (lets take it step by step and don't get overwhelmed!)
By next Sunday, January 15th:
1) Make an appointment with your primary care doctor to be seen in one month from today. When you make the appointment ask for either the first appointment of the day or the first appointment after lunch. This will make it more likely that you will be seen close to on time.
2) Make time to sit down and organize all your health information before you go into the doctor (make a medical info sheet, put all your health-related paperwork in one binder, call ahead and make sure the doctor's office has all your updated information in their files.)
3) Research what recommended health screens you should have based on your age and exposure. Make a written list of any tests that haven't been done that are appropriate for your age range.
MEN: print this PDF file out: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthymen.pdf or visit the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) website at: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthymen.htm
WOMEN: print this PDF file out: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthywom.pdf or visit the website: http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthywom.htm
Ok now lets get to it! Tune in next week for the key tasks to complete in the two weeks prior to your appointment and the techniques you can use to make sure you leave the appointment with a clear understanding of what your doctor recommended and most importantly, WHY!
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- Foods That Make You Feel Good (A New Series Featuring Individual Foods & Their Nutrient Power)
Coming Up on Medical System Tuesdays:
- Part 2: A Toolkit to Communicate With Your Doctor & Take Charge of Your Health
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