Medicine is a complicated field, and is constantly evolving with time. From different types of surgeries to different medical devices to different and evolving pharmaceuticals, it can be difficult for doctors to keep up with all of the advancements, evidence and science, much less for patients to keep up with and understand. New vaccines and treatments are developed every year to help fight and prevent more diseases than ever before. People are living longer than ever because of basic vaccines and antibiotics to fight all kinds of infectious diseases that were largely fatal decades or centuries ago. Because of it, they are also faced with more chronic diseases and all of the health issues associated with aging – healthy or otherwise.
Because of all of the complications and conflicting views, it can be difficult as a patient to know what the right course of action is or to know that your doctor is making the best decision for you that they can. Here are a few ways to make sure you are your health’s own best advocate.
1. Do some research, but not too much. Understanding the basics of an illness you have been diagnosed with, along with common risks and complications of a disease can be helpful. Reading every worst case scenario published about an adverse reaction to a vaccine or a treatment can actually make things worse for you, because you are less inclined to go with what the science says is the best answer. If you are too afraid, you might not be willing to make any decision about how to proceed, thus continuing to suffer from whatever illness you may have.
2. Ask all of the questions you want to ask. The research from step number one can arm you with appropriate questions to ask your physician or specialist about whatever treatment they happen to be recommending, or to help you better understand the epidemiology of your illness. When you think you understand what is going on, repeat it back to your doctor to make sure you understood what he or she had to say.
3. Arm yourself with appropriate resources. If your illness calls for one or several pharmaceuticals, make sure you are prepared with the proper instructions for how to adhere to your drug regimen. There are apps for medication tracking that can help you sort out which medications to take and when. MedWatcher allows you to register and input a variety of medications you have been prescribed in order to better track your drugs. It can help by tracking your side effects and making sure that you take the appropriate medicines at the right times, and with or with food or beverage. This drug tracking app also helps make sure that you do not mix medicines or other substances that should not be mixed, and can help keep you safe and healthy and better adhering to your regimen.
These are just a few of the ways you can be your own advocate and look out for yourself, and they do not take a lot of time or money to consider.