Guest Author - A. Maria Hester, M.D.
Eat a healthy diet. While this may sound very simplistic, when you consider that most Americans are overweight or obese makes it clear that the vast majority of people are not heeding this basic, but crucial warning. Eating a diet rich in fruits, veggies, and grains can make a dramatic impact on your life expectancy, not to mention the quality of life you live. Many expert panels agree that those who eat a healthy diet are far more likely to prevent many diseases, or at least ward them off for a long time.
Exercise regularly. Yes, yes, I know this is another no-brainer. But again, just look around you and you can see that many people do not appear to be physically fit. Regular exercise - and a healthy diet – can significantly decrease the risk of major killers in America: heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes. With health care costs skyrocketing out of control, doesn’t it make more sense to prevent disease that can cripple us and put us into bankruptcy than putting ourselves in the predicament of relying on our health insurance company to write a check to the hospital without ever address the cause of the problem in the first place?
Learn how to communicate with health care professionals. In medical school, we were taught that most of the diagnosis is in the patient’s history, not in the examination. By the time the patient finishes talking the doctor should have a pretty good idea about what is going on. Unfortunately, patients have never been taught how to be “good patients” so they just have to wing it. Doctors have medical schools to attend to teach them how to be great doctors, but patients don’t have patient schools to learn how to be good doctors, so I developed an online health portal called, nothing other than PatientSchool.net. There are articles and hundreds of links and tools to teach patients how to be great patients, which will improve their health and potentially save them lots of money. For a limited time, there will be free, live teleseminars to teach patient empowerment.
Keep a personal copy of vital health records. Patients rarely have immediate access to the very health records that can save their lives in an emergency. When people are rushed to the emergency room, simply having a list of current medications, chronic medical problems, family medical history, and allergies can go a long way toward optimizing care. There is a free form called Health Records at a Glance that can be downloaded from PatientSchool.net. Simply fill in the blanks, fold it up and keep it in your wallet at all times. American Express says don’t leave home without their card, but if you are in a life or death situation, having a list of vital health info is far more important than any credit card could ever be. Having a more detailed health record, which includes copies of EKGs, x-ray reports, and lab results is also very important.
Be prepared for emergencies.
Keep a copy of vital health records in your purse at all times. Scan in EKGs, lab reports and other valuable information. Fill in charts allow you to keep track of medical problems, medications, allergies, appointments and MUCH MORE.
Go to Patient School