Take Charge Of Your Health
I’ve encountered so many patients over the years who blindly take medications prescribed by their doctors. They come in with all sorts of pills often unaware of the names of the drugs, or why they’ve been prescribed. I see two big things wrong with this picture.
*First, ideally, these patients would have asked why they are on these medications, and whether there are alternative, less drastic treatments for the condition.
*Second, had the patients focused more on preventative measures, they may not have gotten to the point where they need medications.
Let’s talk about these matters a little more. You’re In the Driver’s Seat .
The best doctor-patient relationship is a partnership, with the physician determining the problem(s) and explaining possible treatments, while the patient makes the decisions on which direction to go. All too often, though, the physician says “Do this,” and the patient unquestioningly says, “Whatever you say, Doctor.” But In my opinion, the wise patient would be sure that the doctor has explained everything thoroughly, and answered all the patient’s questions, especially, “Is there anything else I can do to help resolve this problem?” and “What will happen if I don’t take the medicine?”
I am certainly not anti-medication, but drugs are often powerful compounds that can have dramatic effects on our bodies. If an alternative treatment can be found, such as taking yoga classes to relieve stress rather than taking anti-anxiety drugs, the payoff can be much greater. Start Out Healthy and Stay That Way
An even better option is to take the best care possible of ourselves so we may rarely need medical treatment at all, which is why I focus my practice on wellness—remaining healthy. We brush our teeth and floss to stave off cavities, and we change the oil to keep our car running smoothly, but all too often, we neglect the most important thing—our health! It’s a little like being the captain of the Titanic, saying, “I don’t think that iceberg is going to be a big problem. It will just glide on by if we ignore it.” The more we learn about the importance of taking care of ourselves, the more clear it becomes that living longer isn’t the only goal—we want to live full, happy lives, unencumbered by illness.
My desire is to help each and every one of you remain mobile, clear-thinking, and independent well into your 80s and 90s. You are the person with the most to lose if your health declines, and it’s never too early to start taking precautions. But, remember, I can only guide you—you have to chart your own course and have the discipline to follow it.
James E. McMinn, M.D.