How to Help Your Doctor

When your doctor prescribes you a new medicine, it can sometimes seem like they are either guessing or just doing a trial and error method to see what works for you. This is both true and false at the same time. It can be confusing and lead to thoughts of mistrust when you don’t understand what is going on and your roll in the process. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of the process and how you can influence your care for the better.

You are unique

To some degree, your doctor is just guessing when they put you on a new medication. However, this is an educated guess based on your vitals, labs, tests, etc. There are also years and usually decades of evidence that shows what medications will work and what dose to start at. You should not use this as a reason to distrust your doctor, even if they get it wrong. You are different from everyone else around you, and while our bodies generally respond similarly to medications, some of us are the exceptions. You need to work with your doctor and the whole process will be easier and the outcome will be in your favor.

How do you work with your doctor?

How do you work with your doctor? The simplest way to answer this is feedback. When you get a new medication, you are sent away and follow up in 3, 6, or even 12 months. Once you leave, your doctor doesn’t spend his or her night wondering how that medication is working. It isn’t plausible and I personally wouldn’t expect them to do that. What they do want is your feedback. It is up to you to let them know if something is not working. If it is working, let them know at your checkup. If it isn’t and you have given in the time instructed, call and tell them.

Don't sit there and wonder

Diuretics are the hardest to judge. Blood pressure is pretty straight forward. Fluid retention is not. You can weigh yourself and see how effective they are, but you don’t know how your body is responding. Sometimes it feels like they are giving you too much or not enough, but how do you really know? Call your doctor. Talk to them. Again, once you leave, they don’t have any idea what is going on, and without your feedback, they never will. Some work on different parts of the kidney and have different effects on electrolytes in the body. Don’t sit there and wonder what your doctor is doing when you can simply ask.

This is a team effort

This is a team effort. You are the leader of the team. Your doctor has the medical knowledge to help you maintain the healthiest body, but you have to lead your doctor in the right direction. Without your feedback, the doctor will never know if something needs to change, be modified, or eliminated from your care. Before you distrust or want to change physicians, review your actions, and make sure you are helping set your doctor up to successfully treat you and your symptoms. If not, make the changes. It can be tough for some to be assertive, but it’s your life you are fighting for. Sometimes, you just have to do it.

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