You count on doctors to keep you strong and healthy, but they can do better jobs when you take primary responsibility. Considering that medical visits can be expensive even with insurance coverage, appropriate attention to your own health helps make the most of each visit — and avoid unnecessary office returns.
Most importantly, the more you know about self-care, the better your overall health can be.
These Tips Can Help You Be The Best Possible You
You don’t have to spend too much time or money if you make tips like these a habit.
#1. Monitor at Home
Most people have a thermometer in the house, but how many have their own blood pressure monitors? Even this type of test is only the beginning; there are home tests available for a surprisingly wide variety of conditions. You already know about the availability of home pregnancy and drug tests. But, did you know that tests are also available for infections, cholesterol, thyroid levels and many other things?
These tests are not replacements for doctor-administered versions, but they can alert you to the need to make lifestyle changes— and when to seek medical attention.
#2. Communicate Freely
Whether you’ve known your doctor for a long time, or even if you are going to your first visit, the best way to ensure proper treatment of your medical issues is to tell the whole truth. Include all details even if some of them seem embarrassing or unimportant. Between visits, be sure to keep a list of questions and complaints so you’ll be ready to impart all information next time.
You might also consider talking to trusted friends and family members. While their advice does not replace discussions with your doctor, you might be surprised by how often their past experiences can identify potential medical conditions. Expressing these theories to your doctor can be very helpful.
#3. Avoid Risky Behavior
Few people go out of their way to treat their bodies badly. Still, a fast food burger that you can eat while driving is a typical go-to when you don’t have time to sit down and eat a healthy salad. Whether you need to quit smoking or stop eating so many sugary and fatty foods, attempting to correct everything at once is overwhelming.
Select one habit to tackle at a time to make your goals achievable. While you’re addressing one issue, however, continue to be mindful of the other bad behaviors. This motivational practice will make every habit easier to deal with when the time comes.
Finally, keep in mind that moderation is a great goal that helps you avoid feeling so deprived that you eventually binge. Clearly, moderation does not apply to cigarettes and other addictive substances. However, if your health objectives are well under control, feel free to go to Bacon Fest, but just for an hour.
#4. Maintain Your Own Medical Records
As years go by, you amass records that reveal medical patterns that may be enlightening in the future. Unfortunately, medical offices seldom provide copies of those records to patients, even though you have a legal right to obtain them. Since you seldom see the same doctor over a lifetime, knowledge of your medical history can bring new doctors up to speed.
You may have to pay your doctor’s office to print out hard copies that you can pick up in person. Electronic copies might be available at little or no cost, but privacy laws do not permit transmission by email. You can, however, obtain healthcare records by fax to help you regain control over your own healthcare.
#5. Find Ways to Deal With Stress
Very few people can avoid all stress. But, since many physical ailments are actually signs of stress, you need to learn to recognize the symptoms and take action to bring it down to a reasonable level.
First, determine if some of your stress can be completely eliminated. If your workload is unmanageable, try to find people who can help ease the burden, whether they are co-workers or even your family members. Also, try to determine how much of your stress is not necessary. A golden rule is to stop worrying about things that haven’t happened yet unless you can pre-plan methods for dealing with them.
For unavoidable stress, regular exercise is a great way to relax. A walk through nice scenery and music from tweeting birds is like tonic for the soul. Yoga is also very healthful, while the required concentration on each pose creates meditation-like calmness. If you are digitally minded, find a smart phone relaxation app that you can pull out of your pocket on an as-needed basis.
You May Live Beyond 100, So Make it Good
The number of centenarians in the U.S. alone is currently about 72,000. That number is growing, and predictions indicate that it might grow to around a million by 2050. Most people agree that advanced age is a benefit only to those in good health. You can’t avoid every ache and pain that is inevitable with aging, but you can have a long, rewarding life by taking primary responsibility for your own health.