Today more then ever, doctors are being pushed to give their patients prescription medication for almost every aliment they have.
At the same time, interestingly enough, for the first time in history, pharmaceutical companies are spending millions on advertising to consumers. It’s everywhere you go, television, magazines, billboards, Internet, you can’t find a way to get away from hearing about it.
Now, the last place you might expect to be bullied is your doctors office, yet so many of us act as victims in their offices. It’s difficult to hear because on one end, we like the fact the doctor didn’t tell us to give up our cheesecake, or walk a few extra miles a week. We feel we just got off the hook, and the “pill” will take care of us. However if you ever noticed in the beginning of all those drug commercials, usually the phrase “when diet and exercise aren’t enough” and at the end, you may hear “so, talk to your doctor to see if ___ is right for you”. Yet typically, the patient and the doctor do not swap conversation about the ups and downs of the medicine being prescribed.
Now please, don’t translate this into a “I hate doctors” article. Your doctor is a caring person who most likely got into the field because of their desire to help people. Sometimes however because they become so bombarded with pharmaceutical company influenced advise that they naturally suggest it.
Fist off, before we can successfully communicate with our doctors, we have to take responsibility for our own health. I hear too many people pushing the blame on others. Before you were put on cholesterol lowering medication, did you stop eating fried foods? Did you introduce whole grains into your diet daily? Did you run on the treadmill on those cold days, and jog on the warm nights? Statistically speaking, most of us will say no. Most of us would have gone in for a check up, found out our cholesterol was high, and filled the script the doctor gave us for Vitorin, and only passed up a slice of pizza here and there.
We first have to take off the veil that says we have tried everything, and we still are not the picture of health. Am I being tough, yes, but I hope it’s a wake up call that can help you feel rejuvenated, and healthy.
How many of us really tell our doctors, “I am addicted to ice cream, if it’s in the house I eat, and I buy a 1/2 gallon every week” or ” McDonald double cheeseburgers are only $1.00 so I buy two, every day for lunch” What about “yeah Doc, I hate exercise, I haven’t done it since my high school gym class” These are extremes obviously, but it’s the bottom line. We try to impress our doctors by saying “yeah, I allow myself ice cream now and then” “I moderately exercise”, “I eat fast food on occasion only” But why? Why would it be so terrible to have your doctor know why your cholesterol’s high, or why your pre-diabetic, or why you can’t sleep at night.
Lets try to open up to our doctors, really build a relationship with them. If your financial burden is stressing you out, and you stay awake all night because of it, let your doctor know. He/she may teach you stress reducing tips instead of prescribing Ambein if they knew why you weren’t sleeping. we have to swallow our pride and come clean.
After we have done that, now that we better grips on the reasons behind our conditions. Your doctor will appreciate and hopefully embrace your honesty. Next follow the simple steps to learn how to effectively talk to your doctor
1) Let him/her know how you feel about medication. If you love it because you don’t have change your lifestyle, or if you hate it because the side effects are scarier then your condition, let them know.
2) Ask them if it is necessary to start this medicine now. Find out if you can wait a period of a month or so and try lifestyle changes.
3) Ask what changes need to be made. i know if you are guzzling down more soda then water, then you can figure it out right? Not always, sometimes your doctor knows thing you don’t, yeah! He/she may tell you something surprising that you don’t know.
4) Ask for medications that have been on the market for longer then 5 years. Chances are, if you get a prescription, it’s a new one. There are many effective, better studies medicines on the market, these are typically safer.
5) Draw the line where it needs to be drawn. I was told one time that I should take the birth control pill to regulate my periods, but for me, the birth control pill was off limits. I wasn’t going to take it. My doctor told me it was then my fault I don’t have a normal cycle since I was not willing to help myself. This is where I drew the line. I switched doctors and got to the root of my menstrual frustration and found out I had polly cystic ovarian syndrome. If i had taken the pill, it would have masked my symptoms and I would not have been able to effectively deal with the condition I now know I have. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. It’s your right as a patient, and as a human!
6 )Teach yourself. Research is key to a lot in life. Your health is no exception. Read about health and optimal nutrition. Study herbs and supplements. It’s called alternative medicine for a reason. Again, this is in your hands. Also don’t forget, always let your doctor know what your taking. Don’t be afraid you will be looked down on, your health is at risk. Certain herbs and supplements counter act with other meds you may be on, so please check with your doctor.
7) Get the tests your doctor orders. we live in a society where everything is very rushed. If your doctors wants you to get blood work done at a near by hospital, or sends you to have an x-ray, don’t blow it off. Go as soon as you have a chance, better yet, make time for it! Your doctor is trying to help by getting to the root cause of your ailments, you have to show an active part and follow through.
If you follow these keys to better communication between you and your doctor, I believe you will feel more empowered. Yes, your doctor went to school for many years to be where he/she is at, but you have an equal part in maintaining your health. Lets not turn doctors office visits into the “yes doctor” conversation, or lack there of. Become part of the solution, your doctor will thank you for it.