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6 Tips for Being Your Own Health Advocate

by Gabriel Patel at Healthwise (guest author)

You trust your doctor to provide you with exceptional healthcare, but the unfortunate reality is that medical professionals are human, too, and sometimes they make mistakes regarding your health. You should play an active role in advocating for your health so that you can live your best life. These six tips can help you get started, presented below by Healthwise.

1. Know What Your Insurance Covers

Every insurance policy is different regarding which procedures it covers. You should carefully study your current policy to make sure you have a thorough understanding of what coverage you have. Knowing what your insurance covers can help you avoid a financial headache later if you schedule a procedure that insurance does not cover.

Keep in mind that if you’re a freelancer and not covered through an employer, you can find a health insurance plan through the Freelancers Union or Affordable Care Act. Insurance from the ACA Exchange is required to cover many medical necessities.

2. Make a List of Questions

At every visit to your doctor, you should have questions regarding the state of your health. Many people find it helpful to write down their questions so that they do not forget to ask. You may feel uncomfortable asking questions for clarification regarding certain diagnoses, but your doctor should willingly answer all of your concerns to ease your mind and help you find a solution to your problems.

3. Establish a Healthy Diet

According to one survey, up to 80% of overweight Americans do not consume a healthy diet. One thing you can do to take control of your health and be your own advocate is to change the way you eat. Consume a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Minimize the amount of processed sugar you eat.

Eating well and prioritizing movement have benefits beyond physical health—they can improve your mental health, too. Be sure to drink enough water, as well. Even making small changes to your eating and exercise habits can make a big difference.

4. Maintain Your Own Records

Even though most healthcare professionals use digital tools to maintain medical records, it is always a good idea to keep copies of your own records so that you can track the status of your health. One easy way to manage all of your records is to convert them into PDFs. Once you’ve converted them, all you have to do is upload them from your computer or smartphone.

5. Make Movement a Priority

Everyone knows that daily exercise is good for the body and mind, but fitting movement into your hectic schedule can sometimes be challenging. There are easy ways to increase your physical activity even when you don’t have a lot of extra time to dedicate to working out. Park your car far away from the door to get some exercise when you go to work each day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or make time to go for a quick walk during lunch if the weather is nice.

6. Discuss Your Healthcare Needs With People You Trust

During medical emergencies, you may not be able to advocate for your own health. It is important to let the people close to you know about your desires regarding your health so that they can ensure your needs are met when you are incapable of providing direction. You don’t have to share your healthcare desires with everyone, but it is a good idea to choose at least one close friend or family member to advocate for you when necessary.

Learning to speak up for their health is challenging for many people, but it is essential to take control of your health if you want to improve your well-being. By using these tips, whether it’s researching your insurance options or finding ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, you can become a partner in your healthcare journey instead of a passive participant.


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