Getting older can mean needing additional and more specialized healthcare. Even the healthiest adults will find themselves with high cholesterol, changing blood pressure, etc. It can be an overwhelming terrain if multiple things start going wrong.
Oftentimes, people tend to be very passive with their health care – doing whatever their doctor says and accepting more and more medications. According to an article by the HuffPost, Dr. Peter Rost said, “There’s no question in my mind that today most doctors are businessmen first and doctors second.” Doctors make money off of prescribing expensive drugs, so they often won’t inform patients about cheaper and equally effective options.
As a patient, the best solution is to become your own health advocate.
Find the Right Doctor
First things first, make sure you have the right doctor that works for you. Doctors should be willing to listen and answer questions, communicate effectively, and respect your preferences. You want a doctor who you feel comfortable talking to and asking questions about medical options, timeline, urgency, cost, etc.
Don’t be afraid to interview your doctor! Find out if they are a good fit. An article by Electronic Medical Certification lists a number of questions that patients should ask their physicians during their first visit. Some questions include: How long have you been a primary care physician? How would you describe your communication style? Am I able to call you directly in case of emergency?
Get a Second Opinion
Seeking out a second opinion from another physician or specialist will help guide your health decisions and increase your confidence in them.
If multiple doctors agree on the same medical route, you can be trusting of their advice and comfortable when following through with it.
Although your decision may be complicated if doctors diverge in opinion, you will at least have options to choose from. The experienced medical professionals can help educate you about the different options and risks.
Do Your Research
The medical field is constantly learning from past mistakes and developing new information. Some doctors may not be completely up to date with the latest alternatives to medications, updated procedures, or new technology. Search around for your condition online to see if any new discoveries have surfaced.
During your research, be careful to be diligent but not be an internet doctor. Instead of surfing the web for a diagnosis, a better use of time is to surf the web for excellent doctors in their field or current trends in the area of your ailment. Younger doctors don’t always mean “green” – they can have a better handle on the most recent medical movements.
Need some more tips about how to become your own health advocate? Ask A Pup!
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