6 Ways You Can Be Your Own Health Advocate

Check out this fantastic article by  Julia Merrill of befriendyourdoc.org which will motivate you to take charge of your own health!

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The word healthy is a broad term that covers a variety of topics. To ensure you are at your best, you have to be your own health advocate, and that means knowing what is going on with your health at all times. Start by considering these ways you can be your best and fight for your health.

1. Research Your Doctors

Think about the role your doctor plays and how important that is for your health. Use the weight of that role when researching new doctors. Research shows you should look into their educational background, their level of expertise, and what other patients say about them. Ask for recommendations from friends and family. That is a great place to start before you dig in deeper to learn more about the doctor’s experience.

2. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

A great way to take charge of your health is to start living a proactively healthy lifestyle. Start with eating better and getting physical exercise. If you are new on the health journey, try not to overdo it too quickly. Start by making small changes, such as eating more vegetables with every meal and going for walks. If you spend most of your time at work, get some physical activity by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You can find small ways to incorporate activities that will keep your blood flowing.

3. Stay Organized

Keep your medical records organized by maintaining them yourself. You can use an online tool to quickly combine videos and keep all medical images in a single file by uploading them to your computer and merging them into one pdf. Then download the new file to keep on your laptop. Be sure to back the information up to a cloud-based server so you can access it from anywhere.

4. Speak Up at Appointments

Don’t be afraid to ask doctors questions, and don’t worry about whether your questions are silly. Doctors are paid to provide you with information that will benefit your health. The only way to access that information is to ask questions. This can also be a great way to vet doctors. A good doctor is happy to answer your questions and will go out of their way to provide you with answers. You don’t want a doctor that seems irritated or uncooperative when you have questions.

5. Be Vigilant About Your Medications

Take your medications exactly as prescribed. Some medicines are ineffective if you fail to finish the prescription, and some can take weeks to start working effectively. If you skip days or leave a few pills in the bottle, your medications may not work as they should.

6. Prioritize Your Mental Health

Keep in mind that mental health is just as important as physical health. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are struggling or have questions about your mental health. Talk to your doctor about getting a referral if you need to see a mental health professional, and remember there is no shame in having mental health issues. The majority of people struggle with them at some point in life.

Part of you being your own health advocate is doing things that make you uncomfortable, such as speaking up for yourself. However, the more you do it, the easier it will become. Remember how important your health is and you will always want to fight for it.

Natural Antidepressant Combinations I Recommend

Despite the fact that I was trained in the traditional ways of medicine, I prefer to utilize natural supplements and foods to treat conditions, only turning to prescription medications as a last resort for my patients. I have a particular aversion to prescribing antidepressant medications, and honestly believe that such meds only serve as a bandage for the root cause, which almost invariably is a combination of hormonal imbalance and malnutrition.

When a patient comes to me complaining of symptoms of depression, I always recommend the following three supplements as part of the patient’s daily regimen:

Vitamin D
Folate 800 mcg
B-Complex

Once my patients are on this daily regimen for a few weeks, I have them visit for a follow-up to see if their symptoms have improved. If the improvement is marginal, I add SAMe and 5-HTP to the regimen, both of which are great for treating pain issues. As the patient treatment progresses, I order hormonal assays, checking the thyroid, adrenal glands, DHEA, IGF-1, testosterone, progesterone, and estradiol. If anything is off balance (and in most cases, something is), I will treat the imbalance directly with organ support compounds and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

In addition to natural supplements, I also recommend that patients consume whole foods, and avoid processed foods at all costs. I encourage them to find balance in their daily lives, and often demonstrate breathing exercises or discuss meditation with them. I also remind them to stop and enjoy what they have in their lives, to be grateful for what they have instead of dwelling on what they lack.

Rather than turn to SSRI’s, please consider the natural approach first if you are dealing with depression!

If you are in the Los Angeles area, and you would like to schedule an exam, please call Urban Med at (213) 406-8055 to make an appointment.