How do you know you’re receiving reliable health advice?
If you have a serious health condition, such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes, you certainly want to feel that the health advice you’re getting is comprehensive and accurate. Unfortunately, doctors see case after case in their offices every day and do not have much time to spend with individual patients. Even in the case of a life-threatening disease, all you may receive with your diagnosis amounts to some prescription medications, a brochure, and a couple of fact sheets, along with a follow up appointment scheduled in a month. This is not reassuring in the least. Worry and fear do little to help you cope. However, this scenario is all too common. If you rely solely on one physician’s health advice, it’s likely you’re short changing yourself.
You need to be proactive in managing your condition. It is, after all, your life. There are some excellent doctors, as well as some who are not so excellent as you might suppose. When faced with a serious diagnosis, it behooves you to find out if your doctor is board certified. The doctor who is board certified in his or her specialty is undeniably more qualified than one who is not. Board certification means that the physician has undergone more extensive training and is required to be up to date on the latest research and therapies. If your doctor is not board certified, think seriously about seeing one who does have these additional qualifications.
It’s quite common for patients to request health advice from their friend or neighbor, who suffers from the same condition. Your friend or neighbor naturally feels empathetic to your plight and genuinely desires to give helpful health advice, if only to allay your fears. The trouble with this strategy is that every patient has a unique health history. Their program of treatment may well be contraindicated in your case. Emotional support can be quite helpful, but they are not competent to dispense legitimate medical health advice.
Let’s say you have a friend who works at the health food store and seems to know much about helpful therapies for your condition. While well-meaning, do not mistake this so-called expert as someone who is qualified to give you the best health advice. On the other hand, if your friend is a certified Master herbalist, you can be certain that the health advice they offer will be accompanied by a statement that makes you understand that such conditions should never be treated with herbs or supplements that have not been approved by your doctor. There is a great potential for severe interactions with prescribed medications. This is responsible health advice and you should heed their remarks. This person might give you a lead on a naturopathic physician for further guidance.
Pharmacists often know more than doctors about the medications you’re taking. When your doctor prescribes medications, do yourself a favor and consult with your pharmacist to ask about interactions and potential side effects of multiple drugs taken together. Make your pharmacist aware of every medication you take, especially if you are prescribed an additional med later on down the road.
Make an appointment with a qualified nutritionist to go over dietary concerns. Nutritionists often work in concert with a patient’s doctor to formulate a detailed nutrition plan for better management of your condition, with better results. Again, this is health advice you can use, in a proactive effort to improve your health.
Go online for additional health information on your condition. Look for research papers in medical journals, which always have bibliographies, indicating the source of the information given. Print those which you feel bear discussion with your doctor.
While there’s plenty of health advice available, it’s up to you to distinguish between that which is credible and that which is not. Stick with the real experts.
Tags: Health and Fitness