Part of creating a healthy lifestyle is not relying solely on medical professionals to look out for your well-being. You can take a more active role in your healthcare. With these simple steps shared by Incredible Magazines, you can be a health advocate for yourself.
1. Bring Someone You Trust to Doctor’s Visits
For some, seeing a doctor can be an intimidating process. If you have trouble speaking up for yourself or asking questions at the doctor’s office, take someone you trust with you. They can act as emotional support or ask the questions you do not feel comfortable asking. For example, if you want a second opinion, that conversation can be awkward. You can ask your friend or family member to advocate for you.
2. Research Your Doctor’s Background
There is comfort in knowing that doctors go through rigorous training and education. However, no doctor specializes in everything. If you receive a diagnosis and need to see a specialist, part of the process includes finding the doctor that meets your needs. Do your research before settling on a doctor. Research shows the best way to vet a doctor is to check their credentials, including training, qualifications, experience in the speciality, and medical licensing.
3. Keep Your Medical Records With You
Part of being your own medical advocate is being informed about your medical conditions. You can do that by keeping a copy of your medical records. Request the information from your doctor first. Then you can upload everything to your computer and convert the files into a single PDF, along with all your medical images and X-rays.
4. Eat Healthy and Get More Exercise
Living a healthy lifestyle is one way you can be proactive about managing your health. Start by finding a diet and exercise routine that you can manage. For example, if you spend much of your time at work, you can create a meal plan and prep for the week on the weekend. You don’t need a gym membership to be active. You can implement small changes in your day to get your heart rate up, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a daily stroll in your neighborhood.
5. Take Your Medications as Prescribed
Doctors prescribe medications in a specific way for a reason. You have a responsibility to take them as prescribed or risk not seeing improvement in your health. If you have trouble remembering to take medicine, set an alarm on your phone and leave reminders on the refrigerator.
6. Choose Health Insurance That Works for You
When it comes to choosing a health insurance plan, there are many factors to consider. First, you need to think about your individual needs and priorities. Do you require comprehensive coverage for your medical expenses, or will a lower-cost plan be sufficient for your needs? In addition, you should consider the costs involved with upgrading or downgrading your coverage. Finally, it is also important to evaluate the provider networks available, as different health plans may have more or less extensive networks of doctors and specialists. Know that if you’re self-employed and don’t get health insurance through work, you can find a policy through the Freelancers Union, the Affordable Care Act, or Medicaid (if you qualify).
Becoming an advocate for your own health is a slowly evolving process. As you learn more about living a healthy lifestyle, you’ll find new ways to advocate for yourself whether you’re researching doctors or health insurance policies. Taking control of your physical and mental health will have a profound impact on your quality of life.