I would surely call you a superhero if you were never afraid of the injections as a kid. For me, it always sounded nothing short of a nightmare, to be honest. But what can anybody do when it’s necessary and an important part of our lives.
Nowadays most people don’t value the transformational impact that medical science has on us. For Instance, on the eve of Independence, India had an average life expectancy of just 31 years with minimal health infrastructure. Now the number has shot up to an impressive 68 which is no less than a miracle.
But humans are built in such a way that they always want to develop and improve. So with this type of infrastructure what more things can we do to ensure a healthier and better lifestyle for all?
Leaving aside the innovation part, as a patient or a visitor at the clinic for that matter, one simple thing you can do is ask better questions to your doctor. I wish you all the health in your life but if you do visit your doctor isn’t it a better option to be more aware and ask the right questions which can potentially create a great impact on your health and lifestyle?
So here is a list of questions that you could ask your doctor to be more informed and have a healthier lifestyle.
How can I decrease or stop some of my medication?
If your doctor prescribes you some medicines, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the ultimate way of curing or preventing something. You can always have a conversation about what lifestyle change can help you to eliminate or at least reduce some of the medicines that you take.
Having some modifications in your routine lifestyle is a better alternative than depending on medicines.
Also, if medicines are getting way too expensive and out of your budget, you should surely not shy out from asking about more affordable alternatives if there are any.
While cutting down medicines on prescription can be a great step, make sure you don’t do anything without taking a prescription.
And if you decrease the usage of medicines, make sure you make the lifestyle changes that come along with it or it can lead to some serious problems depending on the situation.
What else can I add to my lifestyle to stay healthy and prevent potential diseases?
How often are you conscious of your lifestyle decisions? Like what activities can be harmful to you and what improve your health. If you are aware you might know the basics, but there may be many things you would be surprised to know about your lifestyle.
So, having a knowledgeable conversation about your health with your doctor is always a great idea. It’s no lie that heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer can be prevented to a great extent with lifestyle improvements like eating the right food, doing exercise on daily basis, etc.
This way you are choosing health over disease each day. Seems as simple as a walk in the park but can be very effective in the long term.
Are there any red flags in my family history?
A family’s medical history can surely help you to determine your future health risks. For instance, if heart diseases are more common in your family than the usual rate, you should consider taking the screenings earlier than the recommended age, this can help you prevent any miss-happenings in the future.
To identify any such issues, you should consider giving as much information about your family as possible. Most importantly, try to take notes of your primary relatives (parents, siblings, and children) because they are more closely related to you genetically.
Also observe any unusual pattern or trend in your distant relatives (grandparents, uncles, aunts). Doctors usually ask about cancer and heart diseases but don’t be reluctant to share any other relevant information regarding other diseases like diabetes, arthritis, etc.
What tests do I need?
Most of the doctors would suggest a series of blood reports (such as thyroid levels, cholesterol levels, vitamin B levels, etc.) and blood pressure check-ups. Beyond these tests, it all depends on your family history and your lifestyle like what food you prefer daily, you are a regular smoker or not, etc.
Should I lose weight?
We can see the internet flooded with talks about fat-shaming, body-shaming, etc. Calling someone fat is no less than a crime nowadays. But in the name of creating awareness against bullying, are we missing a different aspect of being fat altogether?
Before jumping onto the topic I would like to clarify, here we are talking about being fat not to tease or bully anyone but to make people understand that being fat is not just about the way you look, it comes with additional health problems that need to be catered and prevented in every way we can.
Losing weight will help you reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure in your body which can prevent heart diseases.
It can also help you to prevent injuries related to being overweight. So how do you identify what is the ideal weight for you? There is something called BMI or Body Mass Index which most doctors use to determine the ideal weight for you.
Some of the simple ways to lose weight are by doing regular exercise and eating proper food according to your need and situations. To be more precise about how to lose weight according to your situation, consult a doctor who can tell you the best way to lose weight.
Ask him to suggest what food you should eat, what is the best time to eat, what are exercises you should focus on according to your age and health etc. Being disciplined and consistent with what you’re suggested to do can help you achieve your health goals.
When do I need to come back?
Even if your insurance covers an annual report of various tests, you can still come back just once in two years if all the reports are normal and you live a healthy life.
But on the other hand, if some of your reports are not so great and you have a disease that runs in your family you should ask your doctor and consider visiting more than once a year. So this question can be an important preventive measure for you especially if your test reports are not so satisfactory.
I have been feeling strange discomfort and pain. Is it a matter of concern?
Many times we tend to ignore small discomforts that we face in our regular life. We just see them as minor problems even if we are not so sure about the cause.
But this is not true all the time, the problem can be minor sometimes but it can turn out to be something major the other times so you should be aware enough to ask your doctor about this and not let him dismiss this conversation without being sure about the cause and effects.
I haven’t been sleeping very well lately, is that a cause of concern?
Reports show that around 70 million adults have a sleeping problem and nearly 37% of people aged 55 to 65 years fall asleep unintentionally during the daytime at least once a month.
Sleep apnea, a problem affecting 18 million Americans, results in a pause in breathing which disrupts sleep and increases the chances of cardiovascular problems. You are at high risk of apnea if your age is above 40 and you are overweight. Some of the ways you can easily improve your sleeping habits are as follows-
- Limit the use of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol
- Avoid large meals close to the bedtime
- Have a proper sleeping schedule
- Avoid exercising before you sleep
What has changed since my last visit?
Whenever we visit our doctors we often don’t go with the bigger picture in mind. We generally think about the particular problem we are visiting for. But it is time to be an empowered patient and think on wider terms.
If you had a history of any of the problems like blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol etc. you should consider taking your old reports to your doctor. You should also consider filing all the reports in one place in an orderly manner so that it can be easier for you when you go for a visit.
I am not feeling very sexually vital, can there be something wrong with my health?
This might seem like an embarrassing question for most people, but if this is really a problem that you face, you surely shouldn’t shy away from asking it. If you have a decreased libido (sex drive), a morning test of your testosterone is an appropriate test for you to take.
If you have erectile dysfunction, you could choose from multiple ways of solving your problem including oral medications or vacuum erection devices. But if you might consider losing a few pounds or giving up cigarettes, you might not need such measures.