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FIVE WAYS TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH CARE

By SEO Admin on August 21, 2012

recent article in MEN’S JOURNAL by Kevin Gray states that in a bewildering medical world, it pays to become your own health advocate. The article further states that when a panel of leading medical experts concluded this spring that patients were receiving too many medical tests — often to their detriment — it was another reminder of the fallibility of the medical profession and a wake-up call that we all need to take charge of our own health. "Doctors don’t know everything," says Dr. Emily Rubenstein Engel, a physician at San Diego’s Scripps Clinics.

The age of the family doctor is over. There was a time when physicians had only a handful of patients, rarely farmed them out to specialists, and didn’t make decisions influenced by pharmaceutical incentives, insurance policies, or the constant threat of malpractice suits. These days, managing your own health care is largely up to you — no matter how eminent your physician or how much you’re paying. More doctors are specialists, reluctant to diagnose or treat beyond their field, and are overbooked and overwhelmed by patient quota, hospital demands, and insurance-company red tape.

You have to be your own health advocate — to ensure that you see the best physicians, get enough time with them, ask the right questions, and are given the right drugs and tests, so that you can make lifestyle changes to treat and prevent problems. "Optimizing your health is not something you do at your doctor’s office — it’s something you do with yourself every day," says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, an integrative physician and national authority on men’s health issues. "You learn about your health, you learn about medicine, you learn about medical tests, and you become your own damn expert." Here are a few hard and fast rules to help you take control of your health care.

1. Don’t be intimidated. "Doctors are consultants, not your boss," says Teitelbaum. But speaking up to doctors can be difficult to do, even for patients who are expert communicators in their professions. Education level is no hedge against intimidation and embarrassment, says Dr. Robert Mordkin, chief of urology at Virginia Hospital Center near Washington, D.C. "Some guys come in, and they’re so ashamed to say the word testicle. You need to set that aside so you can advocate for your own health." He suggests writing down your questions ahead of time so you can focus better on what you need to say and what the doctor is telling you.

on what you need to say and what the doctor is telling you.

2. Be wary of tests.

Medical tests like MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays can be helpful. But the problem with them — and the reason a task force recently recommended that doctors limit the number of tests they order — is that medical screening often finds abnormalities that aren’t the root of a patient’s problem. In the case of many complaints, such as lower-back pain, medical tests offer little insight, and the prescription remains the same: rest. If a doctor orders you an X-ray, then a CT, and then an ultrasound, all in his own lab, you should run the other way, says Mordkin, because it’s likely that physician stands to profit from the tests, and you can’t be sure whether he’s operating with his or your best interests in mind. On the other hand, "If we’re concerned you have something serious, like a kidney stone, and you’re in a lot of pain, that’s a good time to get a CT scan of your kidney. It depends on your symptoms and presentation." Bottom line: Ask your doctor why you need that test, what he hopes to tell from the results, and how it will affect your treatment.

3. Know your numbers. Every checkup, ask your doctor to assess the following four numbers, and keep a personal log so you can track them yourself between visits.

• Blood pressure

• Cholesterol

• Glucose level

• Testosterone

Too low can indicate hormone dysfunction, diabetes, and other health problems
Too high can indicate an insulin problem, prediabetes, or diabetes.
A rise in LDL can indicate heart disease or other heart or diet problems.
A rise can be a sign of heart disease or another major health condition.

4. Deal with your issues. Men are 24 percent less likely to visit the doctor than women, and can be reluctant even when something seems serious. Sure, you don’t want to be a wimp or a complainer, but not speaking up when something’s wrong can cost you your health or even your life. That may sound extreme, but it’s not. "We’re guys," says Mordkin. "We like to ignore stuff. And we’re often afraid of what doctors might find." Mordkin says he has a patient who recently came in with a lump that had swelled his testicle to the size of a baseball. "It had been there for a few months, and he had been ignoring it. When we went to evaluate it, we found that it was cancer, and it had progressed to his abdomen. I can’t help but wonder if he had presented a few months earlier if we could have stopped it."

5. There are no magic bullets

. Health problems rarely have a single cause — or a single solution. Most conditions arise from a multitude of factors, including diet, stress level, exercise habits, the supplements you take (or don’t take), relationship problems, and more. Your doctor should take these into consideration and address how you can change your lifestyle to improve your health.

Remember, the profit motive is as strong in many doctors’ offices as it is in a mechanic’s garage. Physicians make money by ordering tests; some even get kickbacks from drug companies. Whenever a doctor prescribes you a drug or a test, especially without offering alternatives first, ask him why he’s ordering it, if it’s really necessary, and whether there are alternative medical treatments like acupuncture or supplements that are worth trying before undergoing testing or treatment. "If you don’t like what you hear," says Teitelbaum, "tell him you want a second opinion." Mordkin agrees: "We are all adults and want what’s best for the patient."

If you or someone that you care about has been injured or neglected in a hospital or by a medical professional, you need a legal team that will fight for you and your rights every step of the way.

To speak with members of the Charpentier Law Firm about your case and to find out how we can help, contact our Central Florida personal injury attorneys today. Our Brevard Medical Malpractice Lawyers are here to help.

For more information on Medical Malpractice Click Here: http://www.brevardlawyer.com/html/medical-malpractice.html.

 

3. Know your numbers. Every checkup, ask your doctor to assess the following four numbers, and keep a personal log so you can track them yourself between visits.

 

 

 

• Blood pressure 

 

• Cholesterol

• Glucose level

• Testosterone

A rise can be a sign of heart disease or another major health condition. A rise in LDL can indicate heart disease or other heart or diet problems. Too high can indicate an insulin problem, prediabetes, or diabetes. Too low can indicate hormone dysfunction, diabetes, and other health problems

4. Deal with your issues. Men are 24 percent less likely to visit the doctor than women, and can be reluctant even when something seems serious. Sure, you don’t want to be a wimp or a complainer, but not speaking up when something’s wrong can cost you your health or even your life. That may sound extreme, but it’s not. "We’re guys," says Mordkin. "We like to ignore stuff. And we’re often afraid of what doctors might find." Mordkin says he has a patient who recently came in with a lump that had swelled his testicle to the size of a baseball. "It had been there for a few months, and he had been ignoring it. When we went to evaluate it, we found that it was cancer, and it had progressed to his abdomen. I can’t help but wonder if he had presented a few months earlier if we could have stopped it."

5. There are no magic bullet.

 

Health problems rarely have a single cause — or a single solution. Most conditions arise from a multitude of factors, including diet, stress level, exercise habits, the supplements you take (or don’t take), relationship problems, and more. Your doctor should take these into consideration and address how you can change your lifestyle to improve your health.

 Remember, the profit motive is as strong in many doctors’ offices as it is in a mechanic’s garage. Physicians make money by ordering tests; some even get kickbacks from drug companies. Whenever a doctor prescribes you a drug or a test, especially without offering alternatives first, ask him why he’s ordering it, if it’s really necessary, and whether there are alternative medical treatments like acupuncture or supplements that are worth trying before undergoing testing or treatment. "If you don’t like what you hear," says Teitelbaum, "tell him you want a second opinion." Mordkin agrees: "We are all adults and want what’s best for the patient."

If you or someone that you care about has been injured or neglected in a hospital or by a medical professional, you need a legal team that will fight for you and your rights every step of the way.

To speak with members of the Charpentier Law Firm about your case and to find out how we can help, contact our Central Florida personal injury attorneys today. Our Brevard Medical Malpractice Lawyers are here to help.

For more information on Medical Malpractice Click Here: http://www.brevardlawyer.com/html/medical-malpractice.html.

 



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