Self-care puts a heavy emphasis on the “self,” and there’s no better way to build your self-confidence than by taking responsibility for your health. Nutritious eating, exercising regularly, getting restful sleep and calming your mind are all essential for health and resilience.
Self-care also means knowing how and when to turn to health care professionals for advice and treatment when needed. That’s what we’re here for, and many of us, especially primary care physicians, spend most of our time teaching our patients about preventative measures they can take to avoid severe or chronic health problems in the future.
These are a few of the strategies you can follow to make sure and your providers have the information needed for you to get the most effective health care possible:
Schedule routine checkups and “maintenance”
Get your annual physicals and lab tests, dental cleanings, vaccinations, health screenings and similar appointments on your calendar and treat them as sacrosanct. The more information we have the better we can serve you.
Know your health history
Keep your personal health records filed in one secure but easy-to-access location, either physical or electronic. Stay up to date on which medications you’re taking and their dosages. Keep a log of your doctor visits, especially if you see multiple providers, and your vaccines.
Know your family health history
Work with your relatives to put together a family health history in an easily updateable format, with as much information about physical and mental health diagnoses as possible. There are many resources online to help you record your own and your family’s health history.
Ask the right questions
Write them down ahead of time and/or bring someone with you, if allowed, to make sure everything you need to know is covered. Get details on any new medications and potential side effects, ways you can treat your symptoms at home and how to prevent the issue from recurring, if possible. Get any follow-up visits scheduled right away and call back if you haven’t gotten your lab or screening results within the expected time frame.