Many of us give control of our health and wellness over to other people without really thinking about it. We just go where we are told to go and do what we are told to do many times without questioning why we are doing what we’re doing. In other words we let everyone else call the shots. This article isn’t telling you not to listen to your doctor. Absolutely not. I would never tell you not to listen to your doctor. What this article is meant to do is to get you to be an active participant in your health and ultimately the decisions you make regarding your health.
Many people tell me the number of prescriptions they take every day and it astounds me – especially those younger than I am and I’m almost 53. I ask them have you ever discussed other options to be able to stop taking medication. The look I usually get is “I can ask my doctor for other options?” That scares me for many reasons but mainly because first they aren’t talking to their doctor and second it is always better to try to eliminate or prevent the reason you need to take medication. Please don’t get me wrong. Yes there are valid reasons that many people take prescription pills and there are no other choices. On the flip side, many of those pills come with significant side effects. When you watch the commercials on TV that taking a pill will fix this problem BUT WAIT – it will also increase your risk of this, this and this. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will. Why take a pill that will fix one thing but cause and increase risk of five other things?
This is not an article to get you to not take any pills – that is by no means what my intention is. What my hope is – is that you will begin a dialogue with your medical team and find out what YOU can do to help get healthy. Here are a few tips to get you ready to have that discussion:
- Be very clear about why you are visiting your doctor. Write down what you have been experiencing, when it gets worse, when you feel better, what seems to help and what seems to hurt. Like your food journal, keep track of everything so that you can sit down and review your notes with the doctor. All the doctor has to go by is what you tell him/her. Make sure you are giving as much information as you possibly can.
- Be prepared for your appointments. In addition to keeping track of everything you are physically experiencing, you need to be confident in your ability to talk to the doctor. If you are afraid of a procedure – tell the doctor. If you have horror stories about a medication – tell the doctor. Doctors and nurses are not mind readers. The more you communicate with your doctor, the better care you will receive. Do not allow anyone to rush you through your appointment – you must ensure you do not leave your appointment without feeling comfortable that all your questions have been answered.
- Breathe. The white coat syndrome is a very real reaction for many folks when they go to the doctor’s office. At the end of the day doctors and nurses are people too. If you feel that uncomfortable talking to your doctor, it is time to find someone that you are able to communicate comfortably with.
- Ask if there are other options for anything you see the doctor for. For example, are you borderline diabetic? Discuss the possibility of controlling it with diet versus a pill. Stress causing you to lose sleep? Discuss the possibility of exercise or meditation to help manage stress while you are moving toward a solution to eliminate the stress versus a sleeping pill.
At the end of the day, yes, you may need surgery or to take a prescription but won’t you feel better doing it armed with knowledge and a strong relationship with your doctor? Take control of your health and be a team with your doctor.
To your health,
Denise Sanger is a high energy business owner with over 30 years experience in the marketing area. She has transitioned her love of fitness and marketing into helping others succeed in getting fit and running their own businesses. She founded How To Stay Fit Over 50 to provide hope and support to others by motivating them to take the first step in their fitness journey no matter what age. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com