5 tips on how to be the best patient

If you’ve had a visit to the doctor lately, more than likely it wasn’t to improve your friendship with your physician. Typically, we visit the doctor when we’re feeling sick or are concerned about our health.

Remaining active in your health care is important to helping prevent serious illness later in life. At the very least, you should visit a physician yearly for your annual checkup. Visiting the doctor annually can help ensure that you are healthy. These visits can also help find early warning signs of serious illnesses or diseases.

So when you’re heading to the doctor for your checkup, keep these tips in mind on how to be the best patient:

Follow your doctor’s orders. It is important to make sure that you follow your physician’s instructions — especially if he or she has prescribed you medications. Make sure that you take your medications correctly. If your physician has suggested that you increase your level of physical activity, make sure that you try to get the recommended amount of daily exercise. Following the doctor’s orders can help you heal faster and prevent illnesses down the road.

Keep your own records. Your physician is keeping a record of your medical history. You should keep your own records, too. This may come in handy if you have to see a specialist. This will also help you to be more involved in your health care.

Be honest. Sometimes people don’t reveal facts about their life or medical history because they are embarrassed or think it is not relevant. It is vitally important to disclose all health-related information to your physician — even if you’re not sure it is important.

Listen carefully. When you visit your physician, make sure you listen to what he or she says carefully. Consider bringing a notepad and a pen to take notes about suggestions for your health care. This will help you to more accurately recall the descriptions and instructions.

Be your own advocate. Part of advocating for you own health care is informing your physician that you would like to take an active role in your health. Ask your physician to clearly explain all tests, diagnoses and treatments. Be careful, though, to not become overbearing and discredit your physician at every move. There is a fine line between being your own advocate and self-diagnosing. This may make it difficult for you to build trust with your physician.

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