Taking charge of your healthcare is more important than ever.
The days of entrusting our healthcare to doctors and the hospital are over. Yes. Their advice and guidance is needed very much. But they don’t live with us 24 hours a day.
Thus, becoming the “owner” of your healthcare is the best way to ensure you are getting the best care that keeps you productive for years to come. There are ways that you can take charge of your own healthcare and win.
Know your family health history
Family health history has strong ties to your health as an individual. For instance, diseases like breast cancer and inflammatory bowel disease have a genetic component to them. If a parent or sibling has had the disease, an individual is at a higher risk for it. If you don’t already know, this is a good time to interview parents and grandparents about the health history of the family.
Good questions to ask include:
- If any family member has died suddenly from a heart attack or stroke
- Any history of heart-related problems including congenital heart disease and diabetes
- Any history of bone-related diseases.
- Any history of psychological disorders. For instance, people with a family history of schizophrenia are at a higher risk.
- History of obesity.
- History of children born with genetic defects.
Gathering all this information can even help you build out a family tree that informs you of potential risks for disease.
Have a record of procedures you have been through handy
If you have had one of two procedures, this may be easy to remember. However, if you have had multiple, it is good if you can document what those procedures were and when you had them.
This is helpful for you and for family members in case there is ever a situation where you are unconscious and cannot communicate this information yourself. Even though your doctor may have these records, it is good for you to keep an account for yourself.
Keep a record of your own health information
This record should have:
- Your name and date of birth
- A history of procedures you have had
- A list of health conditions you have been diagnosed with including allergies
- Family health history
- Your blood type
- Results of screenings
- All medications you take including herbal/non-conventional medications
- All vaccinations you’ve ever had
Again, your doctor may have all this information. And in fact, in creating your personal health record, you can gather more information from your doctor’s office. However, at the end of the day, it is helpful for you to have your own personal health record handy.
Ask your healthcare providers questions
Taking charge of your healthcare also means you ask your healthcare providers questions. If you are not clear on why a doctor is prescribing a particular medication, ask.
If a nurse walks into a room and starts performing a procedure on you, it is in your best interest to ask them what they are doing. It doesn’t matter the type of healthcare provider you are dealing with: doctor, nurse, pharmacist or occupational therapist; always be prepared with questions so you can get the best care for you.
Get screening tests and health risk assessments
Screening tests will help catch silent diseases in their early stages so they can be treated. Health risk assessments give you a picture of conditions you may be at risk for. Each of these is a powerful way to take charge of your own health.
Implement the recommendations given through your health risk assessments
If you work with a company that has an employee wellness program, chances are that you have been through a company-mandated health risk assessment. A good health risk assessment will identify areas where you could improve on your health.
In addition to recommendations from your doctor, implementing these recommendations is a gift of health to yourself.
See your physician regularly for health check-ups
Preventative care is the best care. If you and your doctor or nurse practitioner are able to catch a disease before it becomes a full-blown problem, the outcome is always better.
Manage your stress levels
Stress is associated with many diseases including heart disease. Thus managing your stress levels is an essential step in taking care of yourself so that stress doesn’t become a problem.
For more strategies on how to reduce stress, read this post.
Take your mental health seriously
Mental health should be taken as seriously as bodily health. If your mental health is not at its’ peak, it is easy to fail at work. Untreated mental health issues have unfortunately caused the loss of life both in suicide and murder cases.
Here are a few tips on taking your mental health seriously.
- Talk to a mental health professional regularly.
- Allow yourself to mourn tragic circumstances properly.
- Walk away from stressful relationships and situations.
- Research has shown that journaling is therapeutic for people who have gone through trauma.
For more tips on how to take charge of your mental health, read this post.
No matter how superhuman you think you are, your body needs to sleep. Your organs are able to repair themselves from daily damage when you sleep. Your stress levels are reduced when you sleep.
Getting enough sleep improves your mental health. Thus, one of the most powerful ways to ensure that you stay healthy is to get enough sleep.