Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved – Part 3

Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved – Part 3

Educate Yourself to Get The Outcome You Want

Once you’ve had your visit with your health professional and you have a course of treatment in mind, learn as much as you can about your diagnosed condition.   Stay on top of new developments and treatments as they become available and always ask your health professional whether or not they would be appropriate for your condition.

Many of us read business publications or Consumer Reports religiously but don’t bother to educate ourselves about our healthcare options.  Be an educated consumer.  Know enough to know when you should walk away from a healthcare practitioner.

More and more patients are realizing that they have a great deal of influence on their medical outcomes.  Their treatment program is not just something their doctor is responsible for.  It’s a partnership that requires full participation on both sides.

Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved!

Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved!

Managing Your Care And Your Expectations

 

Once you’ve made a list of the answers to the questions we talked about in our last post, you’re ready for your appointment.

Be prepared to make the most efficient use of your time with your health professional.  Most doctor’s offices schedule appointments in 15 minute increments so be ready to hit the ground running when you have face time with your physician.

To do that, you need to:

  • Take control of your time.  If your doctor doesn’t have time to fully answer the questions you have, ask for someone who can.  Many practices have physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners who can tell you what you need to know.
  • Make sure you understand exactly what your doctor is telling you.  If you don’t, say so.  If you want a good outcome, you have to know what you can and can’t do.
  • Write down whatever your doctor tells you about your condition, any medications he’s prescribing and any lifestyle changes you need to make.
  • Review what you write down with your doctor.  Make sure that what you understood him to say is really what he said.
  • Set realistic goals for your treatment. Make sure that your doctor understands exactly what you want to achieve.  Do you want to heal? Do you just want to manage your condition?  Do you only want to know how to deal with a new medical symptom?  Your goals will help your doctor determine how to treat you.

Taking these steps will help you manage your own care and your expectations for what you can realistically achieve through treatment.

Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved!

Want a Better Outcome? Get Involved!

 

You live with your body every day…

Your health professional can have every medical degree known to man but he doesn’t live in your skin…

What’s normal for you may not be normal for someone else.

In order to properly treat you, the professional you trust with your medical care has to know what you’re feeling and the more detail you can provide, the better.

The bottom line is, you have to get involved in your own care if you want any chance of a good outcome.

Plan Now For Your Next Visit

 

Regardless of whether you’re seeing a health professional that you’ve seen before or if it’s a first time visit, the more information you can provide about your current symptoms, the better.  Don’t expect to just walk into the office and “wing it” and get the best possible outcome.

Be honest in the information you provide to your health professional.  If you don’t provide accurate information, there is no way he can accurately diagnose and treat whatever problems you’re having.

Plan to provide the following information:

  • The reason for your current visit – what are you worried about? What changes have you noticed in your body? What are your symptoms? When did they start?
  • Any allergies you have – that includes your allergies to medications, foods or anything else you’ve had an adverse reaction to.
  • Make a list of all medications you currently take – both prescribed and over the counter.  Be sure to include vitamins, supplements and herbs.
  • Be honest about your caffeine and/or alcohol consumption – think about how much coffee, alcohol or even energy drinks you consume in an average day.
  • Tell your health professional if you smoke, how much you smoke or if you use smokeless tobacco.  Any of these habits can have a significant impact on diagnosing conditions accurately.

Stay tuned for more suggestions on taking control of your medical care to get the results you want.

Recovered From Your Surgery But Having New Symptoms?

Recovered From Your Surgery But Having New Symptoms?

Great news! Your recent surgery was a success…

You came through recovery like a champ…

You managed to avoid any infections and you’re back home.

You never expected to be experiencing symptoms you never had before surgery:

  • Tingling and/or burning in hands and feet
  • Pain in your nerves
  • Loss of the sense of touch or an inability to feel vibration
  • Temperature changes in the flesh – do your extremities feel excessively warm or cold?
  • Side effects from pain medication that cause insomnia or difficulty staying asleep

Almost makes you wonder if the surgery was worth it sometimes, doesn’t it?

What Could Be Causing Your Problems?

"Why can't I fell my feet after surgery?"

 

One cause could be a condition called hypoxia.  Hypoxia can result from prolonged exposure to anesthesia used during major surgical procedures.  The anesthetic used can lead to certain nerves not receiving the amount of oxygen they need to function and that can cause nerve damage. When a surgical procedure is required, the possibility of nerve damage due to oxygen deprivation can be a necessary evil.

Another possibility could be free radical damage caused by toxins.  This sometimes happens in chemotherapy patients.  They make it through chemo and survive cancer only to be faced with the pain associated with nerve damage. Granted, when you’re facing down cancer, pain associated with nerve damage is the least of your problems but it can really make your post-chemo life miserable.

Yet another cause could be nerve compression from things like sciatica or carpal tunnel syndrome.  If your surgery was for either of those conditions or some other condition caused by nerves being pinched or squeezed, your symptoms could be left over damage from pre-surgical conditions.

Next time, we’ll talk about what you need to do next to treat these painful symptoms and get your life back.

What You Need To Know About Metabolic Syndrome

Think You May Have Metabolic Syndrome?

If any of the symptoms or conditions we spoke about in our last post apply to you, talk to your doctor about testing to make sure you don’t have the others before they cause serious health problems.

If you’re not sure what to ask your doctor, here are some basic questions:

  • Are the symptoms I’m experiencing now related to metabolic syndrome or some other condition?
  • What kinds of tests do I need to best manage my conditions?
  • What else can I do to improve my health?
  • What other options do I have to manage the conditions that cause metabolic syndrome?
  • How do best manage all of these conditions together?
  • What restrictions do I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Where can I get more information on metabolic syndrome or any of the conditions I currently have?

One More Thing to Think About

We’re seeing more and more metabolic syndrome in younger patient populations.  And one of the first symptoms they experience is peripheral neuropathy.  Because nerve tissues are especially vulnerable to damage from diseases that affect the body’s ability to transform nutrients into energy or produce some of the components of cell repair (think diabetes), nerve damage and the resulting peripheral neuropathy is very common.

Classic symptoms of peripheral neuropathy are:

  • Tingling and/or burning in hands and feet
  • Neuralgic-like pains
  • Loss of the sense of touch or an inability to feel vibration
  • Temperature changes in the flesh – do your extremities feel excessively warm or cold?
  • Serious sleep disturbances with resultant depression or side effects from pain medication

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of metabolic syndrome and are now experiencing any of these symptoms, you don’t have to just live with it.  Contact us today for information on how peripheral neuropathy can be treated, your suffering lessened and exactly how to find a NeuropathyDR in your area.