Thanks to the internet (ironically) we are inundated with information of every kind, every day. If you have any number of social media accounts, basic cable, or even access to the radio- you are more than likely bombarded with new scientific findings, obscure facts, and meaningless information cluttering your sound boards day in and day out. Although having endless amounts of information at our finger tips can be found convenient in most cases, it can also become a little intimidating on the same hand. When it comes to something as serious as our health, it’s important we use caution as we attempt to decipher the legitimate information from the nonsense.
Whether you have been dealing with a condition for years, or were recently given a new diagnosis, it is equally important to keep yourself informed in both cases. The medical world is an ever changing organism, with new and improved developments surfacing on a daily basis. Ask your doctor to keep you in the loop when it comes to any developments on your condition or methods of treatment. When you make the choice to actively learn about your condition, it enables you to then take charge of your own health. Patients who are more active in maintaining their health, and learning about their condition, experience better health outcomes and at lower costs.
Never be afraid to get more than one opinion! More than one set of eyes and ears will provide you with a more well-rounded perspective to your unique situation, especially in the case of complex conditions, or uncertain results. Once you do have a clear verdict, make sure you understand the information you receive from your health care provider. It’s always helpful to repeat back what you hear them explaining in order to clarify that you are understanding them correctly. Keep the packet of written information provided to you upon check out for later reference, because chances are, you will think of further questions long after you’ve left the doctors office. Nearly 40-80% of the medical information given to patients by their health care providers is immediately forgotten, and half of the information that is remembered, is incorrect. In order to take charge of your health, you have to intentionally take charge of your knowledge about your condition.
It can be tempting to just get online and search fragmented questions pertaining to your condition, but what you will get in return is fragmented answers. When researching online, make sure you consult with your doctor about any information you find that may change the way you approach your condition. Understanding your condition fully is just one more step towards getting better, better!