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How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointment

We’ve all experienced rising health care costs over the past few years. Due to these costs and changes in coverage due to recent legislation, it is more important than ever to make the most of your doctor’s appointment.

Avoid the frustration of not getting your questions answered and feeling rushed during your appointment by being prepared. Have the information your doctor needs written clearly so you can answer questions quickly and concisely. Don’t let the appointment end until you’ve gotten your questions answered either. You are paying for their time, get what you need from it!

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In order to make the most of your doctor’s appointment we will cover how best to prepare, what to do during the appointment, and how to track what you learned after in the sections below.

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How to Prepare for Your Doctor’s Appointment:

  • If you are a new patient or your doctor’s office has forms you need to fill out before starting, download or get a copy before arriving at the appointment and have them filled out when you arrive.
  • Write down your questions ahead of time. Avoid multiple appointments by being prepared.
  • Keep a log of any relevant info leading up to the appointment.
    • Record information such as: how well you’ve been sleeping, exercise, weight fluctuations, aches, headaches, and a record of any additional symptoms.
  • Keep a list of all medications and supplements
    • Include the name, brand (if applicable), and dosage on your list.
    • Write down what each one is used for in your notes.
    • Give a list of the medications and supplements to your health care provider at each appointment. These items can and do change over time. Even if your doctor has a current list they often can’t easily access the information and need reminding. The medications and supplements you take are very important. Some might not go well together or could be causing some of the issues you are having. If your doctor has the complete picture of what you take they can better help you.
    • Take a photo of each prescription and supplement label as well.
    • Keep the photos in Evernote, reference these photos and your list if you forget medications at home while traveling and need replacements.

What To Do During The Appointment:

  • Record your vital information.
    • Your doctor’s aide usually will take your blood pressure, heart rate and weight at each visit. Ask for the information, unless you ask they usually won’t tell you.
  • Be sure to get answers for each and every question on your list.
    • Ask follow up questions if you need more clarification.
  • Take notes during the appointment.
    • Consider recording the audio from your doctor’s appointment in Evernote as well as taking written notes.
  • Ask for any prescription refills, take a photocopy of the prescription so you have the information. This can be very handy if you doctor’s office doesn’t get your prescription phoned it or if you need a refill when you are away from home.
  • Ask for a copy of any lab test results or medical records covered during the doctor’s appointment.

After Your Doctor’s Appointment, Make The Most Of It:

  • Keep a list of all your doctor’s appointments by year so you can see patterns and identify significant changes over time.
  • Scan any written notes into your Evernote account for future reference.
  • Scan lab results or documentation you received from your doctor.
    • Past lab results can be very handy when working with a new doctor or just refreshing your doctor’s mind about patterns you see in your medical history.
  • Create goals for any new directions your doctor gave you.
    • Use a mobile application like Streaks to help you create new habits such as drinking more water, taking a new medication, or exercising as prescribed.

How will your next doctor’s visit be when you come prepared to make the most of it? Each person needs to become their own best health advocate. When you are armed with information and prepare for your medical visits you can become that advocate for yourself.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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