Gone are the days when “doctor knows best.” These days, it is essential that we all play an active role in our health and wellness. Why? We’ve come to realize that health and wellness only exists when we are caring for ourselves and taking steps everyday to ensure our bodies have what they need to be healthy. We simply cannot be passive and sit back and wait until we notice a problem. We are living longer these days and everyone wants that long life to be enjoyable. The only way that will happen is if you are doing things on a consistent basis to prevent illness and disease. What is your role in your health? Are you engaging in healthy lifestyle choices that will lead to better health?
The Doctor Doesn’t Know Best – You Do!
Don’t be passive when it comes to your health. No one knows your body better than you, so be an active participant. Notice when something doesn’t feel right and notice when you feel great, and then consider what the contributing factors are for both cases. When you tune into your body, you’ll be surprised what it can tell you. Even if something seems unrelated, it might not be, so mention everything you are noticing when consulting with your physician.
Consider your healthcare provider(s) to be your health and wellness partner(s). Openly communicate your concerns and let your healthcare provider(s) know you want to collaborate and fully participate in your healthcare. Don’t assume they have all of the answers and don’t be afraid to challenge them.
Remember that when it comes to your health, no question is too dumb. If you don’t fully understand something, ask for clarification. Bring a list of questions and take notes when you are at your appointments. Make sure you are clear on the follow up plan you and your healthcare provider(s) set up and that you will be able to follow it. Make any necessary adjustments before leaving if you don’t think you’ll be able to follow the plan due to certain lifestyle concerns. Ask when and how you will receive results to lab work and tests, and don’t assume that no news is good news.
Be an Informed Healthcare Consumer
The reason it no longer makes sense to assume that the doctor knows best is because we are living in the information age, and the answers we seek are literally at our fingertips 24/7. As long as you are getting your information from reputable sources, you can do your own research to help you determine what could be going on (just keep in mind that you should never self-diagnose, but should instead use your research to guide your discussions with your healthcare provider(s) so that you can have a more informed conversation and plan of action).
Know How to Navigate the Healthcare System
With so much information available to us and with such a fragmented healthcare system, knowing how to navigate the complex healthcare system is no easy feat. That’s why paying a little extra money to have a care coordinator working for you is so important. Most of us will never fully understand the ins and the outs of the healthcare system, so having our own advocate to talk with and to work for you to ensure you are getting the proper care you need is a huge blessing.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
If you’re still fighting the advice to make healthier lifestyle choices and to make certain changes in your lifestyle that will lead to better health, it’s time to consider if having a better quality of life (or maintaining a high quality of life) would make a difference for you and whether living a long life is important to you. If those things are important to you, making healthier choices needs to become a priority because you can’t have your cake and eat it to (and even if you’re still young and have gotten away with some bad habits without many repercussions on your health, you can’t expect that to last much longer).
Healthy habits lead to improved energy levels, being able to do physical activities easier, being able to think clearer, having more enjoyment in your life, and just generally feeling better. So take the time to consider how you can be intentional in the choices you make about your health and wellbeing. What behaviors can you change that will make a positive impact on your health and wellbeing?
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Healthy Diet – eat the CarpeVITA Healthy Lifestyle Diet
- Exercise – engage in physical activity everyday
- Weight Management – stay within your ideal weight range
- Smoking & Drugs – refrain from tobacco use and drug abuse
- Alcohol – use alcohol in moderation
- Sleep – get 7-9 hours of healthy sleep each night
- Stress – reduce and manage stress in a healthy way
- Relationships – engage in healthy relationships and avoid unhealthy relationships
- Environment – maintain a healthy home and work environment
- Mental & Emotional Health – keep your mind active and maintain a positive attitude
- Purpose – discover your life purpose and ensure your life has meaning for you
Other Tips for Participating in Your Health
- Tune into your body and recognize symptoms and what could have led to those symptoms
- Look up your symptoms on a trusted website and understand when it is important to call a healthcare provider
- Don’t assume that acute symptoms are what they seem (back pain could be caused from stress, for example, and in that case, fixing the back with surgery is unlikely to work if you haven’t also dealt with the stress issue)
- Be well-rounded when looking into treatment options. Open your mind to other options.
- Follow through on care plan actions and make health choices
- Be preventive and proactive in your thinking and actions
- Ensure all of your health records and medications are up-to-date and that all of your healthcare providers are working from the same information
- Stay up-to-date with all screenings and immunizations
- Know your family health history
- Develop a care plan with your healthcare provider(s) to treat, manage and prevent health issues