I often emphasize the importance of being a smart patient; someone who accepts responsibility for their own health and well-being. A smart patient seeks out relevant information, keeps an open dialogue with their doctor, and does not hesitate to get second opinions.
Smart patients also possess another crucial trait - they are proactive. They work to pinpoint the best possible treatment options for current afflictions; but additionally, smart patients preserve an open conversation with their doctor to find out what conditions they may be at risk for. There are many things about your health that you cannot control, but everyone can take certain steps to prevent and detect future ailments, especially those you may be at risk for. Creating this individualized strategy isn't just smart - it's genius.
On Wednesday's show (April 21, 2010,) we outline the 5 questions that women over 40 must ask their doctors. As women approach (or pass) this milestone, their bodies begin to change in a number of ways. Metabolism slows, hormones change, and a woman's risk for developing heart disease and breast cancer skyrocket.
It is important to recognize these shifts in your body. Don't be afraid to discuss them with your doctor -that's what we're here for. Together, we can identify which changes are normal and which you need to be concerned about. We can comb your medical history to accurately assess your risk factors. Armed with this information, you can continue to be sure you're living a full and healthy life.
You should always be the expert on your own body. Know what questions to ask your doctor. After all, often the smartest thing that you can do as the patient is to ask the right question at the right time.