An important way to stay healthy is to actively participate in the care of your own health. What do we mean by this? It means that you should be aware of your own medical history to get the best results when you visit your doctor. It is what experts call being a good patient.
Below is a series of tips offered by doctor Joaquin Barbara that could help you collaborate with your doctor and get his undivided attention.
1. Think about what you are going to tell the doctor. If it is your first visit, the doctor will ask you many questions: what happened to you, since when, what diseases you and/or a close relative have previously had, what habits you have (smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol). Make sure you know the answers. If necessary, write them down so that nothing is overlooked.
2. Take all medical reports. Take X-rays and/or tests you have had in the past. The worst thing that can happen is that your doctor does not need them, but they are generally very useful. It helps to save all those reports in a folder and take them the date of your visit.
3. Do not hide information. Know when you had surgery, what type of surgery it was, and where it was done. If you have been hospitalized, you should know when and for what reason.
4. Keep a list of the medications you take. The list should include name, dosage and frequency of each.
5. Keep an up-to-date list of allergies. Include what you are allergic to as well as what happened when you suffered the allergic reaction and how long ago it was. Be careful; many times, a patient reports a side effect to a medication as an allergy.
6. Focus on the problem. If you go to the doctor for an acute problem (for example, an earache or abdominal pain) do not expect to discuss other chronic problems as well.
7. Try to find out with great accuracy what illnesses your closest relatives may have had. Many times, they say “my father had stomach cancer.” It is not the same as cancer in the colon or in the pancreas. That can be a determining factor for your doctor to decide whether you need to be tested.
8. If you are prescribed a very expensive medication, call your doctor. Discuss with him whether there are less expensive alternatives to the medication he has prescribed. Older drugs are often significantly cheaper than new drugs.
9. Ask questions. You have the right to have all your questions answered by your health professionals. Ask questions about the new medications that have been prescribed, what they are for and what the common side effects of each are.
10. Find a primary care doctor that you like. It is very important that you have a good relationship with your doctor. If you feel inhibited by his or her personality or if he or she rushes and does not pay attention to you, look for another doctor.
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