You Are In Charge Of Your Own Health

You Are In Charge Of Your Own Health

In the olden days, you visit the same doctor your entire life. He or she becomes your family doc and the one who knows about your entire background of allergies, your medical history and even the time when you were disease plagued. It doesn’t matter there, as you have complete faith in him or her and their judgment right from the diagnosis and providing appropriate medicines and treatment.

In addition, you get the friendly phone call regarding the follow-up, scheduling the appointment and lastly the pharmacy from where you purchase your prescription. Life was simple and easy.

But things have turn around a lot in this century. It is a whole new world. We move around, the jobs have become less stable and our health insurance policies keep changing each year, even the providers get altered some years. You might slowly realize that your health-care system has become bit confusing and even to an extend frustrating too. It isn’t late, you still can make a change.

Be Your Own Advocate

You might even get the friendly reminder from your doctor even though it might be a message or app reminder. It might be about annual vaccinations and annual blood tests, but it is necessary that you need to know why it has to be done. Here, you must find out what kind of test and immunization you are subjected to, and whether it needs to be done each year.

You can always ask your doctor for advice and see what is covered under your health plan. There are certain services which might be covered under your insurance scheme and it will be still in effect till the renewal date. So, it might be an added advantage if you read and go through the insurance provider’s handbook carefully.

I Took Immunization Injection as A Child

One thing that you might have to really think or keep in mind is that those immunization which you had taken as a child won’t continue to protect you when you are an adult. But there are certain vaccines you really need to have to keep yourself protected. The same is with your dental visits regarding tooth cleaning, fixing the cracked teeth and even filling the small cavity that ultimately saves you from root canal, dental abscess, or implants later on.

Sometimes, you might not have a dental insurance or funds for the dental visit, so, it is better if you ask your dentist whether they provide payment plan or go for credit card payment. There are various dental schools who do services for free or even low cost. But above all you must brush your teeth at least twice a day and even incorporate flossing so that your teeth is in good shape.

It might be good if you call and confirm the appointment in case there is a change in plan. For example, there have instances where patients who are arriving for chemotherapy after rescheduling have reported that the right kind of medicine wasn’t available. This sometimes forces them to return the next day for the treatment. Calling in advance can help to avoid such kind of issues.

Finding A Good Doctor or Physicians

Sometimes you might not have a doctor that you like or whose is present in your insurance plan’s network. In such case, you really need to do some legwork. It is not wrong, or might one say that one can’t look for a good doctor in the phone book, however, you do have the choice to ask any of your friends or family members regarding their experience with a doctor. If anyone says that a medical practitioner was a good listener who really cares about your concerns, then no doubt your search will become much easier. There are various online portals and medical organization websites where you can view the profiles of physicians and best hospitals.

Now once there is a doctor of your choice and who really seems good to fit into your requirements, the next step is to schedule a new patient visit with him and try to use that as an audition. Keep in mind that all doctors are aware of medicines, but they won’t be aware of how to communicate and talk with patients.

It is important that you make the doctor realize that you want to work as a team for improving your health and get them to ask questions related to your medicines, health and treatment. If your doctor doesn’t provide the required answers or can’t provide the reply to your queries related to treatment, health and medicine, or if he or she isn’t happy to answer to your questions, then clearly you need to continue your search and fix an appointment with another doctor.

The same can be followed for choosing a specialist. Plus, it can be good if you ask the doctor whom he or she would entrust or go to for taking care of his children and spouse.

There Aren’t Any Embarrassing Questions

The key to a good communication is questions. Keep in mind that you mustn’t be intimidated or embarrassed. It is good to remember that your doctor is working for you and is accustomed to the problem that you have before, irrespective of how much strange it might be for you. Each time you go for an appointment or before a procedure or test, make sure to write down the questions to ask. Also, you do have to keep in mind that the length of each visit is limited. Doing a little bit homework might be good before asking questions and making it more effective.

This way you will start by asking important questions. Sometimes the doctor might suggest a medicine, just write down its name and inquire on how it works. Also just ask why he or she is recommending that medicine and whether it might have any potential side effects and how it can reduce your problem. In certain cases, you should also check what would happen if you don’t take the medicine at all.

It is important that you ask what kind of lifestyle and diet changes you must do if you want to improve your health. In most cases, the doctor will be glad to assist and write for you an exercise prescription. Most importantly, if your appointment is over and still there are questions you really need answer for, try to opt or ask the doctor for a follow-up appointment or a referral one which might be useful.

Going for Second Opinion

Sometimes, you doctor might diagnose a serious illness or might recommend you go for a major surgery. In such case it is better if you go for a second opinion. It is best if you go for a second opinion when you have a suspicion or feeling that something is wrong and when the doctor isn’t taking any of your concerns or symptoms in a serious way.

Don’t worry if you are going for a second opinion. It won’t hurt the doctor’s feeling or be something that disrespects him. You really must get all hands-on information before you are going to start a potentially life-altering treatment. Many doctors are often recommending their patients to take second opinion to be on the safer side, especially when it is a complicated case.

The same is with your insurance company. Your insurance company will also be of assistance in providing you and locating the specialist for the second opinion. In certain cases, they will even take charge of the treatment that your diagnosis confirms from the second doctor.

Avoid talking or emailing the specialist over phone or computer. It is important that the doctor see you in person to do the check-up and know about your illness. You can even request the doctor to send your reports and X-rays to the second doctor to whom you are going for the second opinion. Sometimes you might have to sign a waiver from the doctor’s office to release your medical information and even you might have to carry the X-ray by hand.

In certain cases, the third or second opinion will be much like the first one, however, the second doctor will be having a different approach compared about your illness. For example, if you are diagnosed for cancer, one doctor might recommend going for surgery while other one might suggest going with a ‘watchful waiting’. Either way, as a patient it might be hard for you to follow the given advice if both the doctors are expert in their respective fields.

How to Take Care?

The following are the steps you need to follow –

1) Stress Management

Here it doesn’t mean that you need to do some 20-30 minutes of meditation each morning or evening. Even though it will be great still managing stress is just simply taking five minutes out of each hour to sit in a quiet manner with the eyes closed and focusing on your breathing. Even you can go outside for a five to ten minutes of walk just around the block. It might be good if you go for a hour-long yoga class, guided meditation, and biofeedback. Whatever, it is you need to prefer and ensure that it happens and works for you.

2) Getting Adequate Sleep

Keep in mind that there isn’t any magic number when it is related to the number of hours everyone must sleep. However, experts feel that one must have about seven to eight hours of sleep especially if you are an adult. So, this means that getting uninterrupted sleep in peaceful environment. Also, it is important that you make your room temperature at a comfortable degree, as sleeping in either a hot or cloud room might not be good and can disturb your sleep cycle.

3) Cooking Your Own Food

When we are cooking our own food, it means we are taking a huge responsibility for what we are consuming and making a wise choice. Sometimes you might be a person who doesn’t like to cook and well the time has come to turn things around. You can always start with making your own salad which is filled with some roasted chicken, nuts or seeds, dazzle of lemon juice or olive oil and a dash of pepper or salt of your choice. This would be great to start with.

At times you might be lacking motivation and apathy from making your own food. In such case you need to try preparing food with things you can handle. When you are not working, you can hard boil a half dozen of eggs. Get to wash and chop vegetables so that they can be ready whenever you need them. You can even soak some steel cut oats overnight and then be able to cook them up in no time the next morning. It is good if you can keep plenty of seeds and nuts and fresh fruit juices in hand when you really want to have a healthy snack and so you can enjoy like a person who likes cooking.

4) Exercising

It is time for you to get your head into the game. Try to avoid all kind of excuses. Keep in mind that you are no longer an individual who simply won’t exercise. Try to begin anytime and anywhere. Just go for a walk or take a swim. You can even hop on the bike or go for a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP). Here it is all about moving your body regularly and ensuring that your body won’t fail to thrive. Just move daily and make no excuses for it.


It isn’t difficult to take care of yourself. All you need is encouragement and the knowledge that at times of need, you must keep yourself in good health. To be happy and live a long life, you need to have a healthy body and mind. This is only possible if you have the determination to do and not something that can be forced upon on you.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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