Become Your Own Healthcare Advocate?
Choose A Doctor Who Cares
Teaming up with your care Doctor
Have you ever been to a Doctor’s appointment and felt like you are not able to tell your complete story? Did the doctor not listen.? If your answer is yes, maybe your visit went something like this: It started with a quick check-up, the second thing was your Doctor taking a look at your lab results and going “It seems like everything is normal. You are fine!”. In the end, you feel relief, but you come home, and you notice that you still feel tired, the bloating, you forgot to mention the bloating and your medication allergies.
In Functional Medicine, we believe that the problem should be treated and fixed from the root cause. This is the main reason why a healthcare professional with a Functional Medicine background is going to work with you, through a detailed questionnaire of your medical history and mediators, triggers, and antecedents, to find the cause of inflammation or the primary cause of disease. Instead of managing the symptoms with just a pill, your treatment would be focused on lifestyle changes, nutritional modifications, vitamin and mineral supplementation, improvement of gut function, and movement. Conventional Medicine a necessity when it comes to serious injury, critical state illness, and acute disease. While treating acute illness or injury with conventional Medicine at a specific time, you can continue treating chronic diseases along with functional Medicine to continue towards your health goals.
Patient empowerment is crucial nowadays, and you should be the one asking the questions. Patients deal with their symptoms daily; of course, they know exactly how they feel! And your healthcare provider should be the one taking note of this. Your physician should know that lifestyle and nutrition play an indispensable role in health and disease; this should be of major importance for you too.
Some of the questions you should be asking are:
Are you able to work as a team to improve my health?
Remember, as patients, we deal with our symptoms, emotions, and lifestyle. We have to work hand in hand, doctor and patient, in order to get healthier. Your physician might know everything that has to be done. Still, the patient must be willing to go through the process with the certainty that if there might the need for an extra push or advice, your care provider is right there.
What is your point of view on nutrition as Medicine?
Your doctor should know the preventive and reversive effects of a healthy diet. Our diet’s impact on our body systems is crucial for every function; therefore, applying some simple changes as diminishing the amount of sugar, adding more vegetables and fiber to our diet might be the best and easiest way to improve our wellness.
Are you willing to give me an in-depth explanation of my lab results?
Please, don’t take an “everything is fine” as an answer. If your primary care provider is not ready to go through your lab result with you, you should find someone else who might want to put the time and discuss them in-depth with you. A care provider should be able and available to explain everything that is going on with your lab results. Even if one thing is slightly off the range, they should notice it and try to ask further questions about the relation of any symptoms or antecedents
If there is any way that I could prevent getting sick, would you go deep into the explanation of what I am supposed to do?
To achieve a good quality of life or keep the one you have right now, you have to prevent disease. Even if there are no treatable symptoms in the present moment, nutrition and lifestyle interventions can be life-changing. Do not settle for what is “normal” focus on the “optimal”.
What do you think about supplements?
Stress, lifestyle, soil depletion for food overproduction, genetics and oxidation are only some of the issues that affect our sources; therefore, our vitamin and mineral absorption. Sometimes, even with an ideal diet, it is impossible to get all of our micronutrients. Consuming, absorbing and metabolizing micronutrients might be even harder if we live with a chronic illness. Your doctor must be able to help you cover all the nutrient deficiencies that you can come across.
Do you believe that inflammation has something to do with the symptoms that I am going through?
Inflammation is the primary source of a wide variety of symptoms, such as joint pain, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, sinus problems. Almost all of the time inflammation might be caused by food sensitivities. Your doctor has to acknowledge what are the root causes of inflammation and treat the problem from the origin.
Are sugar and cholesterol the most important cause of heart illness?
In recent studies, there has been found that processed foods, flour, lifestyle choices, along with sugar, play a vital role in the development of diabesity but not fat/cholesterol. Your doctor should be up to date with the latest research.
Is diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis reversible?
Chronic diseases can be reversible with the correct diet, supplementation and lifestyle choices. The patient has to be the one with control of their health, with the right doctor as a partner in this road; health has never been so close.
Getting the right treatment depends on getting the correct diagnoses. Getting an accurate diagnosis relies on being consulted by a great doctor, which might seem very hard. In order to get the best treatment, the patient and doctor have to work hand in hand. The patient has to be willing to make simple changes and know that one pill will not make them healthy. The doctor needs to have the expertise and know that diet, supplementation and lifestyle changes will prevent, reverse and treat from the origin every cause of inflammation, plus these changes are sustainable. You have to be prepared to ask the right questions and know what you want. Ask away, become your own health advocate and start working as a team with your doctor.
Hyman, Mark. “Health vs. Sick Care.” Commune, 2020, onecommune.com/products/hacking-your-healthcare-with-dr-mark-hyman/categories/1665467/posts/2929881.