Your Health: Responding to Worrisome News From Your Doctor

Taking care of your health involves personal responsibility. One way to care for your health is to get regular physical exams. Staying current on your immunizations is another way. You may also read about specific conditions and diseases. But what can you do when the doctor reviews your tests and gives you worrisome news? Though you may feel helpless, you aren’t, and here are six things you can do.

1. Get a second opinion. While this is always an option, keep in mind that a second opinion will incur additional medical costs. Your medical insurance plan may not cover these costs. Before you seek a second opinion, find out if your medical records can be accessed or transferred to another provider.

2. Review your health record. Mayo Clinic details these records in its website article, “Personal Health Record: A Tool for Managing Your Health.” This record includes your primary care doctor’s name, contact information, any allergies you may have, the medications you are taking, chronic health problems, major surgeries and the dates of these surgeries, and whether or not you have a living will, according to Mayo. Your personal health record “can be a lifesaver,” Mayo continues, especially if you have a medical emergency. More details please

3. Get additional tests. Did you have all of the basic tests? The tests that are ordered for you depend on your sex, age, medical history, and family history. Basic tests include analysis of your blood and urine, a chest x-ray, blood pressure reading, colon exam, mammogram for women, and a prostate exam for men.. At age 50 and after, your physician may recommend a colon test.

4. Talk to a specialist. If your heart is beating rapidly, or you are short of breath, you may be referred to a cardiologist. Medical specialists have knowledge that could help you. When you talk to a specialist, ask the questions that have been bothering you.

5. Learn more about your diagnosis. Your medical center may have a patient education department, or you can search the Internet for information. Visit reliable websites only, such as the Centers for Disease Control. Be wary of websites that offer quick fixes or are trying to sell you things.

6. Control your worries. Worrying isn’t good for you. According to a WebMD, article, “How Worrying Affects the Body,” chronic worry and stress can lead to “a host of health problems.” These problems include dizziness, dry mouth, fast heart beats headaches, muscle aches, sweating and trembling. “Physical responses to stress involve your immune system, your heart and blood vessels, and how certain glands in your body secrete hormones,” the article explains.

Discuss your concerns with your doctor and other health professionals. If surgery is recommended, ask him or her to describe the steps of the procedure. Ask for brochures and handouts as well. Knowing about the surgical procedure will help you face it. While worrisome news is never welcome, there are things you can do about it and ways to help yourself. Be an informed, savvy patient.

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