3 Ways to Get More Out of a Doctor Visit

stethoscope-33520_1280For many of us, heading to the doctor for a checkup is routine. And, that’s a good thing, because keeping tabs on the state of your health is definitely a wise practice. So, when you do go to see your doctor, why not use these three strategies to get the most out those visits?



Ask your doctor for lifestyle and dietary recommendations

Recently, a family member saw his doctor for a routine physical and discovered that he had hypertension and high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the doctor did not ask him any questions related to his lifestyle or diet. The doctor simply whipped out his prescription pad and dashed off three scripts for pills. Has this ever happened to you? If so, this not surprising, because according to medicalnewstoday.com, in 2010, over 75% of all doctor’s visits resulted in a drug prescription. Prescription drugs, while sometimes necessary, can have many negative side effects. So, if they can be avoided, that’s a much better thing for your health. Take the initiative and ask your doctor for lifestyle and dietary recommendations that would be helpful in your particular situation. For example, in my family member’s case, there are exercise and dietary changes that could have been recommended to help alleviate his hypertension and high cholesterol. If your doctor is quick to prescribe drugs and does not offer alternatives when asked, consider looking for another doctor that will make lifestyle and dietary recommendations and only uses drugs if absolutely necessary.

Insist that your doctor make the time to listen to and investigate all of your health concerns

When you go to see your doctor, it’s reasonable to expect that they would patiently listen to your health concerns. After all, you are paying them for their time and expertise. This is vital, because a rushed appointment could lead to a less than thorough evaluation—which could result in your doctor missing something or even making a wrong diagnosis. In fact, according to cbsnews.com, medical errors are now the third highest cause of death in the U.S., right behind heart disease and cancer. So, if you feel that your doctor is in a rush and won’t take the time to listen to you, it’s time to go shopping for one that will make the time. That said, there are many great doctors out there that do take an active interest in the health and well-being of their patients. One great way to find one of these doctors is to ask people you know and trust for their recommendations.

Ask your doctor about his or her exercise regimen and dietary habits

This is not to be nosy. What you are trying to find out is if your doctor sets an example for a healthy lifestyle. Why is this important for you to know? If your doctor does not take care of his or herself, then how can they possibly help you to be healthier? Unfortunately, wellness and nutrition are not emphasized in medical school. So, consequently, many doctors come out of medical school with a pop-a-pill-and-all-will-be-well mentality.  Look for doctors that are knowledgeable about wellness and nutrition and seek to apply this knowledge in their practice. Tip: When making an appointment with a new doctor, ask if they practice complimentary medicine. Complimentary medicine integrates medical science with alternative therapies such as dietary strategies and acupuncture. And doctors who practice complimentary medicine are more likely to prescribe healthy lifestyle changes over drugs.

To your good health!

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