Chronic Condition? Five Things You Should Ask Your Doctor
When it comes to your health and dealing with a chronic condition, remember these three key points:
- You and your provider will develop a personalized, proactive plan for your health.
- Your provider’s team – from nurses to lab staff and pharmacists – will all contribute to your personal plan, but
- YOU are the most important person on the team.
Start there, and be ready to ask questions. The more you know, the more you’ll feel satisfied with your team. Talk to them not only during your visits, but through your patient portal, on the phone and through the use of virtual visits. Using all your channels saves time and keeps you healthier.
Know you’re not alone in facing a chronic condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 60% of the U.S. adult population suffers from at least one chronic health condition. From asthma to osteoporosis, these conditions can hamper life – but they can also be managed. Use these questions as you fine-tune your personal plan.
What Might Be Causing or Contributing to My Problem?
Not every chronic condition can be prevented, but many can. Use the information you develop to do your honest best to prevent them from starting. If facing a condition, it’s good to get to its roots and see how we can reduce impacts. Provide as many personal details as you can. You know your body better than anyone.
What Are You Prescribing, and Are There Alternatives?
Depending on your condition, your doctor may write you a prescription or have you try different medications to treat it. Ask your provider about the medication, and when you do, make sure you tell your provider about all medications, over-the-counter drugs, supplements, topical applications and vitamins.
When you get a new prescription, it can interact with things you already use or take. You can ask if you really need this medication, too. In some cases, diet changes, along with exercise or natural supplements may help.
Finally, know that if you start a new health regimen, not everything works instantly. Be sure to ask when you can expect to see changes, and use your channels like the portal’s messaging feature to report updates or get more information.
Would You Get a Second Opinion if You Were Me?
Should I see a specialist? If so, who is the best of the best? Especially with complex chronic conditions, it might be wise to get more information. “Would you see a specialist?” is a great question, and not something any primary care provider fears. Remember, your personal plan for health is YOURS and worth the time and effort that might go with another appointment.
How and When Should I Follow Up with You?
We’ll stay in touch with the methods that you like most – email through the AveraChart portal, phone calls, virtually or in-person. As we build your plan, we need to keep it proactive – that means you need to lead, learn and keep in touch. We’ll do the same.
What Are Other Ways I Can Improve My Health?
Lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, smoking and excessive alcohol use can make chronic conditions worse. Unhealthy habits such as smoking can also lead to a chronic condition, and prevention is always preferred to treatment. That’s why questions count. You can always ask for help about best ways to lose or maintain a healthy weight. We can help you find your best types of exercise and teach you how prevent further injury or condition aggravation. We’d love to help you with dietary questions, too!
Asking these questions lets you to take charge of your well-being. An educated patient, like you, makes for a healthier patient. If you don’t have a provider, you can find one today.