Self-advocacy is the action of describing one’s self, interests or views. For me, this is number one when seeing healthcare professionals. I have to be able to express my lifestyle, concerns or anything that is impacting my mental or physical health. That is why it is so important that I only see healthcare professionals that I can talk to and who listen. This doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does require effort. Here are three ways to advocate for yourself with healthcare professionals:
1. Be honest about your lifestyle.
Do you smoke? Is your job sedentary? Do you a balanced diet vegetables? It doesn’t do you any good if your doctor doesn’t know the honest answers to questions like these. People with sedentary jobs may require slightly different care than someone who has a more physical labor position. A sedentary job could contribute to obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure. Your doctor could tell you how to offset your health problems, but he or she has to know about your lifestyle to do so.
2. Express your concerns.
Just recently, I went to my gynecologist and had my thyroid tested. My mother has a thyroid condition, and even though I’m working out and eating better, I’m holding on to weight. My doctor tested my thyroid and thankfully it was fine. It turns out I just need to crank up the cardio. This was a valid concern for me that was put to rest by a simple blood test and talking to my doctor.
3. Discuss your mental health.
It is essential that your physician knows about any mental health issues you may be having. They may be willing to help, and if they cannot, they’ll refer you to the proper help. My physician has a list of all the medications I take. This includes the medications I take for bipolar disorder. The purpose of this is so he doesn’t prescribe me anything that will interact with the medications that I’m currently taking. Also, it also aids him in treating me physically.