Advocating for your health enables you to feel confident and empowered to actively take part in your own recovery. Here are some practices you can engage in to effectively advocate for your health:
Advocate Year-Round, Not Just When You Are Sick
Advocating for your health year-round prevents illness from developing. Rather than ignoring small symptoms and letting them escalate to a serious level, the minute you feel anything is “off” with you, get it checked out by your doctor.
Advocating for your health year-round also includes receiving self-care treatments throughout the year (e.g. energy healing, reflexology, acupuncture, massage therapy) and eating well.
Receiving energy healing is a great way to advocate for your health, as it has the benefit of being able to clear out imbalances from your energetic fields before they manifest physically. It can also expose certain parts of your life that are causing health problems and that need to be adjusted accordingly.
Be Cautious in Researching Your Condition
It’s important for you to have a good idea of your condition but beware of the internet. When you are online, there is a wealth of information available that can make you feel overwhelmed or stressed out. A good example is health patient boards, which may make you feel more anxious and fearful.
Find well-known doctors and reputable alternative medicine practitioners that provide informative resources such as blogs, videos and articles. There are also studies available from some medical journals that can provide information on illness and treatment options.
The objective of conducting this research is to educate yourself so you can have an informed discussion with your doctor and share any information you have come across that he/she may be unaware of.
Be Prepared for Your Doctor’s Appointment
Have there been times where you’ve gone to see your doctor and after the appointment, you’ve been like “Ah! I forgot to mention I had this symptom!” It’s crazy what we can forget when we’re ushered into a doctor’s office. We may even feel a little overwhelmed or intimidated by our doctor and/or our health issue. To deal with this, prior to your appointment, write down the history of your problem with timelines and symptoms. Also make a list of questions that you might have for your doctor.
Question Your Doctor
Don’t feel silly for asking certain questions – you’re not the one with a medical degree and you have a right to know what’s going on with you. Ask!
Follow the medical advice received from your doctor but don’t be afraid to challenge something they say based on your experience with it or what you have learned from other resources. Share anything that is concerning you.
In addition, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for educational resources if you want to learn more about your health issue. Many doctors assume that their patients don’t care and just want the remedy to their problem but if you want a better idea of what your body is going through, ask where you might be able to obtain more information.
If your doctor is really busy and you want to see them a.s.a.p., keep on calling to check for cancellations. In addition, if you’ve had a medical test and haven’t heard back within the stipulated time frame, call anyway to check if the results are okay or if you need a follow-up. This is your health – it’s important. Treat it as a priority.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get a Second, Third, or Fourth Opinion
If you’re not entirely satisfied with the information or treatment you are receiving from your doctor, don’t be afraid to get another opinion. In some cases, this may involve requesting that your family physician refer you to a specialist. Or it may involve you changing your current specialist to another. It might even mean conversing with alternative medicine practitioners. You have to work with a professional that’s right for you.
By practicing the tips above, you can play a crucial part in your own health & recovery.