April 26, 2022 @ 12:00am

Illustration of a woman talking with her doctor

Simple and useful tips for taking charge of your well-being

Becoming a health advocate for yourself gives you control over your health and instills confidence that you’re receiving the best possible care from your provider. This can lead to a healthier and longer life. Here are a few steps to becoming your own health advocate:

Maintain a healthy relationship with your doctor

It is important to be honest and open with your doctor. Ask questions, and seek clarification when you don’t understand something.

“We want patients to feel empowered to speak up and offer insights to whatever illness they are struggling with,” says Dr. Jill Boulden, a hospitalist at Black River Memorial Hospital. “When patients work with us and share their concerns and questions, it helps us provide better care and a more positive outcome.”

Get a second opinion

Getting a second opinion provides an opportunity to have a conversation with a provider who may be able to explain things in a way that is easier for you to understand, or has a unique perspective on your treatment options. When it comes to your health, knowing all of your choices is essential.

Value your appointment time

Be prepared when you show up to your appointment. You’ll receive important information, so bring a pen and paper to take notes and be sure to receive a post-visit summary.

It can also help to bring a loved one to your appointment to make sure you capture everything from the visit, especially if you are anticipating receiving bad news that could affect your ability to focus.

Do your own research

It’s important to only use highly regarded sources. There are a variety of websites where you can educate yourself about symptoms, treatments, drug side effects, and disease research. Some respected websites include:

Keep a medical journal

Whether you’re generally healthy or battling a serious disease, keep close track of how you are feeling. Any symptoms you’re experiencing can help identify when something is wrong, as well as provide vital information to your provider when diagnosing an illness.

Utilize these tips for being your own health advocate, and enjoy a healthier, longer life. And if you need assistance, make an appointment with one of our providers.

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