Scheduling and attending health-related appointments, especially if you are a parent and coordinating for your children, can sometimes feel like a full-time job. If you’ve ever wondered why your family gets sick so often or when the last time you got your teeth cleaned, you’re in the right place to make some changes.
Taking charge of your health and getting regular preventative support is essential to protecting your family’s well-being. And, showing up to appointments as a knowledgeable, informed consumer of healthcare can allow you to take more control over your well-being.
The same habits that have kept us health since the dawn of time still work today: eat fruits and vegetables, exercise daily, sleep eight hours a night, avoid smoking, take your vitamins, get an annual physical exam, follow doctor’s orders and indulge a little. The CDC estimates that by adhering to these habits, 30 percent of heart disease-related deaths, 15 percent of cancer-related deaths and 28 percent of stroke-related deaths could be prevented each year.
In my new book, 52 Small Changes for the Family , we devote an entire week to focusing on taking charge of your family’s health. This includes not only making health appointments but also setting up preventative health appointments, arming yourself with information and understanding about what to discuss at each appointment, and understanding the screenings you need to undergo as you age.
Start today. These 5 simple actions will put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to your family’s health.
Find a primary care doctor and start a running list of questions
If you don’t have a PCP, now’s the time to get one. Most insurance companies require you have one for referrals to specialists, and they’re a great starting point for any health issues or questions you have. Ask for personal referrals from friends or family, and don’t be shy about switching if you have a doctor you’re not comfortable with.
It’s not enough to have a PCP, you’ve got to use your time together wisely! To make the limited time with your doctors count, start a running notes document on your phone, whiteboard or paper list of questions to ask him or her the next time you have an appointment. This is a great exercise for both yourself and your kids, as concerns may crop up from time to time that are forgotten in between visits. Bring the written list to your appointment to be sure all your concerns are covered.
Get Ahead of Health Problems
Many health issues from high cholesterol to anxiety can be managed and even healed through the use of functional nutrition and complementary medicine. Consider your family’s ailments and whether incorporating visits to the chiropractor, acupuncturist or a functional nutritionist may put you ahead of health problems sooner vs. later. Interested in learning more, contact me!
Get to the dentist
Seeing the dentist is about more than pearly whites. In fact, routine dental exams can reveal many conditions, from vitamin deficiencies to undiagnosed diabetes. Getting your children involved in dental visits and toothcare early will set them up for good habits into the future.
Re-evaluate your medication
Many of us take a prescription or medication with doctor’s orders and don’t think much about it. Today, spend some time reading the fine print on any medications your family regularly takes. Write down any questions you have. Understanding the side effects and uses of medication can give you a better overall understanding of your health and any issues that may crop up in the future, as well as arm you with the power to ask questions of your doctor. Better yet, if you haven’t been to see a functional nutritionist to help use diet and nutrients to support (or even heal) your health conditions, it is worth every penny. Contact me today!
Opt into preventative Screenings… & understand the numbers
Work with your doctor to figure out the appropriate screenings for your age and health history and be sure these are being done regularly. But it’s not enough to just have the screening. Be sure to research each result so that you understand the numbers you are seeing and are informed enough to raise any concerns with your physician. While your results may be “normal,” understanding where on the range they are arms you with powerful tools to understand any issues that might crop up or to make lifestyle changes.
If you’d like more ideas for taking charge of your health, check out my new book, 52 Small Changes for the Family . Week 45 focuses on the topic.