While there are many ways you can prioritize your health, probably the most important is to be your own health advocate. While this may sound simple, this requires educating yourself on medical conditions and knowing when to speak up on your own behalf. If you want to be more involved in your health journey, consider these tips to help you start advocating for yourself.
1. Know Your Insurance Policy
Insurance policies are notoriously complex. Most people understand the basics, such as coverage limits and co-payments, but reading the fine print could help you in the future. Research shows that many people do not understand the basic health insurance terms in a policy, making it difficult for them to choose a policy best for their situation. Therefore, as the first step in your health advocacy journey, take out your insurance policy and go through it thoroughly.
2. Be Proactively Healthy
One of the first steps in being your health advocate is taking care of your mind and body. You can live a more healthy lifestyle by eating well and getting daily physical activity. For example, if you work often, it can be difficult to find healthy food options on the go, and getting to the gym is sometimes not a possibility. Try prepping your meals on the weekend and taking healthy snacks with you to the office. Use the stairs rather than the elevator, and go for walks on your lunch break when the weather allows. Also, especially if you’re a freelancer, take some time to research your health insurance options to make sure you’re covered in case of an emergency.
3. Keep Your Medical Records on Hand
Part of advocating for yourself is being knowledgeable about your medical health. Keep a copy of medical records and assess them thoroughly so you can better understand the medical language. It will take time, but you can talk to your doctor about elements you don’t understand. Be sure to keep a copy with you. Save your medical records as PDFs so you can access them from your smartphone at any time. You can try this PDF converter to turn files into PDFs.
4. Prepare Questions for Medical Appointments
Before you see a doctor, write down all the questions you have about your medical records, current conditions, and preventive measures you can take to better your health. Doctors see many patients every day. Those working in a large facility may only have a few minutes to spare. If you come prepared, you can ask the questions you have without worrying that you forgot something.
5. Talk to HR About Preventive Benefits
If you work for a large company, your employer likely offers some health-related perks you either didn’t know about or have forgotten. For example, many companies provide gym membership discounts or offer free fitness classes they negotiated in a partnership with a fitness company. Sit down with your human resources representative to see what you may access.
6. Know When to Ask for a Second Opinion
Asking for a second opinion can be a bit intimidating, but sometimes, it’s necessary. If you receive a diagnosis of a condition that requires a specialty, it is always a good idea to ask for a referral. If you’ve done your own research and think the doctor could be wrong, speaking up is of the utmost importance.
7. Be an Advocate for Transparency and Informed Decision-Making
Last but not least, it’s essential to advocate for educated decisions about what goes into our bodies for both individual and community health. Informed choice gives us the power to select products that align with our values, prioritize our well-being, and increase our understanding of how we interact with the world around us. Educating ourselves on the ingredients and production process of items going into our bodies helps hold manufacturers accountable and encourages them to create more sustainable practices. Transparency in labeling allows individuals to make the best decision personally and professionals to work towards collective changes from an informed point of view. Ultimately, it is important that we have access to resources so that we can make decisions that are beneficial for ourselves and the environment without sacrificing quality of life.
Now that you’ve started your journey to wellness, you have some new tools to help guide you through advocacy. As you learn more about your health, you’ll find even more ways to speak up for yourself. Start by finding medical care professionals you can trust.
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer. He specialized in caring for the elderly after his mom needed special attention. He enjoys sharing his fitness knowledge on his website and as well as provide information that would help his fellow senior caregivers.