3 Ways to self-advocate for your health

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Kevin Mangelschots

Self-advocacy is especially important when it comes to your health and well-being, as the ability to communicate your medical needs enables you to take charge of your health, prevent or reverse disease, and achieve your wellness goals.

And though it can take time to learn how to advocate for yourself at doctor’s visits and feel comfortable enough to speak up for your healthcare requirements, these three ideas will help to give you the confidence you want.

How to self-advocate for your health

1. Organize Your Medical Records for Easy Sharing

Image of medical records.

Whether you’re preparing to change primary care doctors, meet with a specialist after receiving a new medical diagnosis, or move to a different clinic, it’s important that you’re able to share your complete medical history with your care team.

Some providers will require you to share your medical history in advance, while others may suggest bringing your healthcare records with you to your appointment.

To present your medical records in an organized and easily shareable manner, consider merging your health history into one PDF file. If you’re wondering how to merge PDF files into one document, a PDF merger makes it easy to drag and drop the individual files you’d like to combine.

Once you’ve merged your medical records into one document, the file can be shared electronically with your provider or printed and brought to your upcoming appointments. Just be sure to review your records and correct any errors in your medical history before doing so. You can even request certain documents to be electronically signed. Here’s a solution that allows you to easily add in a signature form and complete it electronically.

2. Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle

While some chronic diseases, illnesses, and disorders are not preventable despite living a healthy lifestyle, many are.

A few of these preventable diseases include certain types of cancer and heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. As such, adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of exercise, avoiding tobacco, and limiting your alcohol intake can all help to prevent chronic diseases such as these and improve your overall health and well-being.

To take control of your health and change your daily habits for the better, here are a few things you could do:

● Take stairs instead of elevators.

● Walk (instead of driving) when you’re running errands.

● Go meatless on Mondays.

● Look for ways to incorporate healthier foods into each meal.

● Relieve stress each day by meditating, journaling, or practicing yoga.

By adopting a healthier lifestyle, you’ll help to keep any existing medical conditions under control while also preventing other chronic conditions from developing over time.

Exercise can even help you to manage depression and anxiety. Don’t wait until you’ve received a medical diagnosis to change your lifestyle: act today, and you’ll improve your health, boost your energy levels, and reach a healthier weight.

3. Find the Right Medical Practitioner

Image of a dark skinned medical practitioner conversing with her patient while smiling.

In addition to organizing your medical records and adopting a healthier lifestyle, finding the right medical practitioner is a big part of self-advocating for your health.

Don’t just settle for the first medical provider you find: look for a practitioner that meets your specific health needs. This means choosing a provider that’s covered under your insurance policy affiliated with your clinic or hospital of choice, recommended by other patients, and knowledgeable about your specific medical needs.

If you’re interested in integrating alternative therapies into your treatment plan, note that these treatments are not always covered by insurance.

You may be able to use a flexible spending account (FSA) to pay for care, however, or you could even submit an insurance claim to request reimbursement. Coverage for alternative care typically varies by plan, and some of the more commonly covered services include chiropractic care and acupuncture.

Final note

Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Self-Advocacy Is the Key to Good Health and Well-Being

Nobody knows your body or mind better than you do, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to become your own biggest health advocate.

These three tips will help you to advocate for your health and get the medical care you deserve, so don’t wait to organize and merge your medical records, adopt a healthier lifestyle, and search for the right provider. Your health is important, and nobody can advocate for your health and well-being like you can!

Guest author bio

Zack’s day job as a tech consultant requires him to travel frequently. As an avid runner and cyclist, he likes to stay as active as possible, even when he’s on the road.

He can also be found blogging at travelfit.info.