Having a healthy heart is everyone’s responsibility, but mostly our own. Your doctor can help but you have to help too. Here are some ways that you can work together to keep your body healthy.
What is it about doctors? They are health professionals who seek to keep us healthy. But, they are only as good as the information that is available to them. And, who knows more about your body and your life than you?
Many of us simply listen to the doctor and do whatever they say. This is not necessarily the way to go for your health. One doctor may recommend medication, another surgery and yet another may subscribe to the “wait and see” policy. But, any one of these may not work for you.
Test your Doctor
Once you get to a certain age, your physician should talk to you about heart health. If you are younger but have noticeable risk factors for heart disease, they need to approach the subject then. When you have concerns about your heart and your health, bring them up. Let’s see how your doctor responds. Do they:
- Ask you about your diet?
- Offer ways to reduce your risk factors?
- Perform blood work to determine various levels like cholesterol, insulin and C-reactive protein?
- Do a thorough examination?
- Ask about family history?
If your doctor is on top of things, any one of the above points can get the conversation started on heart health. But, don’t be shy, join in on the conversation. If you are afraid you might forget your questions, write them down ahead of time.
Ask your doctor about the results of your tests. What do the cholesterol numbers mean? What is my blood pressure? Are there alternatives to medication? What if I experience side effects?
You can begin online. All the information you ever wanted to know is there. You can employ your doctor to explain what you don’t understand. Use it as a guide to getting the answers you want from your doctor – not to replace your doctor.
Get Additional Resources
Your doctor can help you by recommending nutritionists, internists and other professionals to help you protect your heart. Some people don’t know enough about nutrition to choose better foods. Or, they don’t know how to get started with exercise. Your doctor has resources to lead you in the right direction. After a complete physical, they can also tell you what type of exercise is right for you.
Your doctor works with you to protect your heart. If you have questions, ask. The important thing is to go and see a doctor to get the ball rolling. Participate in your own heart health.
Hope you are enjoying the Healthy Heart Series.
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