Data show that over half of American adults are living with a chronic health condition, and many individuals have multiple conditions. Keeping track of your health information and ensuring you get the best care requires you to be a strong advocate for your health. Fortunately, with a little effort, most individuals can effectively advocate for themselves or a loved one. The following are three areas to focus on when doing so.
The first step toward successfully advocating for your health is understanding health insurance. Policies are often filled with unfamiliar words. Look up those that are new to you. If your insurance provider offers online access, create an account. Doing so can help you find in-network providers, see if you have met your deductible, monitor claim status, and do other important tasks. If you don’t have an agent or aren’t satisfied with yours, find a new insurance agent. A good agent will answer your questions, listen to your concerns and help you find the right policy.
Getting the most from your doctors’ appointments starts with going to the doctor. If you have a fear of doctors, take steps to address that anxiety. Consider taking a loved one with you to appointments. See if you can meet the doctor through a virtual appointment before visiting in person. Try drinking green tea to calm your nerves. Even individuals who do not fear doctors often do not go as often as recommended because they do not have a primary care doctor, despite the benefits of doing so. Yearly checkups can catch problems early and allow you to address them before they become severe. When choosing a primary care doctor, take time to read online reviews and ask friends and family for recommendations. If you feel uncomfortable or rushed at the appointment, continue looking for the right fit.
Whether you are seeing a primary care doctor or a specialist, there are several things you can do to ensure a successful appointment. Make a list of questions and concerns beforehand. Arrive on time. Bring a list of all your current medications and supplements. After the appointment, update your personal medical records and submit forms promptly. You can extract the page content from your documents using an online tool, which also has a suite of features like consolidating several PDF files, reducing file sizes, and more.
Although insurance and doctors are key to good health, living a healthy lifestyle may be the best way to advocate for your well-being. The choices that you make every day add up. Eat nutritious meals. Focus on vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. Many individuals find that making gradual changes to their diet is easier than completely revamping it in one shopping trip.
Getting enough physical activity is important for good health, but not everyone has time to get in a full workout every day. If you are very busy, do small exercises throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk during lunch. Do a few pushups in the morning and a few stretches before bed. Do more on days that you have more time. Consider asking for help around the house from your spouse, children, or roommates if you want more time for exercise.
Advocating for your own health may feel overwhelming at first. However, by understanding your insurance policy, getting the most from your doctor visits, and practicing a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy greater control over your health and healthcare.