Be Your Own Health Advocate, Your Life Depends On It

Be Your Own Health Advocate, Your Life Depends On It

You are sick. You go to the doctor. You may get a diagnosis, but something just doesn’t feel right to you. Maybe he or she didn’t spend much time with you. Maybe you didn’t feel heard. Or maybe the doctor simply does not have enough experience about your condition. Regardless of the reasons, if you are not comfortable with your doctor or have doubts about what you are being told, it is time for you to be your own advocate and find a doctor you trust and are comfortable talking to about your health.

Be Your Own Health Advocate, Your Life Depends On ItDoctors Face Burnout

According to research recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that doctors are facing higher levels of burnout than ever before. The reasons for this are wide and varied. They range from increased patient loads to emotional exhaustion to work dissatisfaction. However, with the study results indicating that over 45 percent of doctors qualify as burned out, it is worth considering that your doctor may not be quite on top of their game when you see him or her, especially if you have a major health concern.

When to Seek a Second or Third Opinion

The truth is that doctors do not know everything about every health condition that walks in the door. The average family practitioner has a basic knowledge about many common health conditions, but if you have a health issue that is outside of their scope of knowledge, then you may need to seek help from a specialist. Many good doctors are quite happy to have patients see someone else to validate a diagnosis or for another opinion.

It is also important to inform yourself about your health. If you have been given a diagnosis, go to reputable websites, such as the Mayo Clinic, and look it up. You can find information about symptoms, treatment and causes. If you find recent research articles on your health condition, bring them to the attention of your doctor. If you are told something that does not make sense to you or is contrary to information you find from a reputable source, ask your doctor about it.

If you are uncomfortable with your doctor, it is important to try going to another doctor for a second, third or even fourth opinion. You may not be happy with what you are being told, but if you find a doctor you trust and who you feel confident is being honest and straightforward with you, then you can make good health choices for yourself.

How comfortable are you with your current doctor? Do you have a special health condition where you have sought the services of a specialist before? Let us know in the comments section below.

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