Doctors do not get training in nutrition, lifestyle, sleep, supplements etc. You need to take control.
Here are 5 simple ways to do it.
1) Make sure your doctor gives you ample time to address your health concerns. A ten minute office visit doesn’t cut it. Docs are rushed because insurance reimbursement has decreased. Therefore to maintain their income, docs need to see more patients. Do not get caught in the numbers crunch.
2) Ask about the risks and benefits of any recommended test or procedure. Don’t just sign an informed consent form. Make sure you are truly informed. Cardiologists run millions of people through CT scanners fraught with massive radiation and inject them with nuclear, radioactive material. This is often done for no good reason or blatent overkill. A good history and in-depth blood work usually gives us the answers we need. Most of the time, a plain treadmill stress test gives us all the information we need, without the risk.
3) Understand the risks and benefits of recommended pharmaceuticals. You want to know percentages and something called Number Needed to Treat (NNT). NNT comes from studies done on drugs and identifies how many people need to take a drug for one person to benefit. This information exists for heart medications as well as chemotherapy and many others. You decide if an NNT of 300 (aspirin and women for primary prevention of a heart attack) has value.
4) Find another doctor for a second opinion, preferably a natural doctor, chiropractor, naturopath, or homeopath. If necessary, get a third opinion. Just remember that all doctors have some “skin” in the game. Pediatricians recommend vaccines because it is their job. Imagine if your air conditioning repair man refused to check for coolant in the system. He wouldn’t get much work.
5) Educate yourself before going to the doctor. If you have a complaint, research it on the internet. There are plenty of incredible books written by medical doctors and laypeople. Doctors fear the informed patient and do not like to be challenged. Many docs feel they are above the questioning. That was true in the 1970’s, not today. This is the information age. Doctors must except it or face extinction.
Be the Empowered Patient. We are here to help you.
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