Taking an active role in your health and health care is one of the best ways to improve your health and health outcomes. But how, exactly, do you do that?
Here are five ways to take a more active role in your health:
1. Inform Yourself
Your health care providers are responsible for being informed about the latest developments with your health conditions. But the more you know about the conditions you’re dealing with, the better the questions you can ask your doctor.
Also, when you inform yourself about your family history of particular illnesses or conditions you might have had as a young child, you bring valuable information to your doctor that they couldn’t otherwise know.
2. Keep Your Doctor Informed
Too often, people go to the doctor, get a treatment for their condition prescribed to them and then wait months until their next appointment to tell their doctor about changes in their condition.
But you can take a more active role. All it takes is a simple phone call when something changes.
For example, if you begin taking a new medication for your condition and notice a mild new symptom developing, call your doctor to let them know.
In many cases, information like this can change the treatments you need. And if you don’t tell your doctor this need-to-know information, they won’t know it’s happening.
3. Ask Questions
Health care providers want to keep you as informed as you want to be. But they don’t know what you do or don’t already know until you start asking questions.
In other words, don’t hesitate to ask any and all questions you have about your health. Your health care providers should be happy to answer them, and each answer keeps you more informed.
4. Take Notes on Your Symptoms
Our lives are busy. In the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget seemingly small changes in your symptoms and overall health
There’s a way to stop this from happening: being more active in your health care. The first step is writing things down.
When you notice a new symptom, write it down (and call your doctor). When you notice a symptom going away, write that down, too. Take note of the days you experience certain symptoms and how severe they are.
The more information you have for your doctor, the better. So, if it feels significant, take a few seconds to write it down.
5. Take Your Medications to the Doctor’s Office
You might have heard the common wisdom that you should keep a list of your medications to share with any new doctor you see. That’s a great start, but you can do better.
Instead of just a list of your medications, bring your actual medication bottles to your next doctor’s visit.
Why is this helpful? Because it leaves no room for error. Your health care provider can see the exact dose and formulation of your medication, rather than just what you’ve written down.
Don’t forget to bring all of your medications, including over-the-counter medicines and supplements.
If you have concerns about your health or health care, reach out to your health care provider as soon as possible.