One of the six main principles of naturopathic medicine that is emphasized during our training is Doctor as Teacher. It is important for us to empower our patients with knowledge about their health and lifestyle. Naturopathic doctors can play an essential role as your health advocate, as they are able to take the time to sit down and discuss all of the thoughts you may have whizzing around in your head (don’t worry, we’ve heard it all before!). With that in mind, here are six questions you should not be shy to ask your health care provider:
1) What screening tests are appropriate for my age?
Fecal occult blood test?
Screening tests encompass a variety of different lab tests that help to identify asymptomatic people that are at an increased risk for a specific condition or disease. There are a variety of regular screening exams for both men and women based on age and individual health history. These tools are significant to catch an assortment of conditions including cancer, sexually transmitted infections and cardiovascular disease. Did you know naturopathic doctors are trained to do gynaecological and male genitourinary exams too?! Check in with your doctor to make sure your screening exams are up to date.
2) Do I fall into a healthy weight category?
Both being over weight or under weight can be a clue into what is going on metabolically in your body. Having a conversation with your health practitioner about weight can help determine what a healthy weight for your body type is and recommendations can be made about how to get there. Having an appropriate body mass index, or BMI, can help decrease your risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases.
3) What is my blood pressure, and should I be monitoring it at home?
Our blood pressure naturally increases slightly as we age. However, chronically elevated blood pressure can be an indicator of your heart health and has the potential to lead to serious health events such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. It is important to know your blood pressure and monitor it for changes. Knowledge is power!
4) Are all of my current medications & supplements still necessary and am I taking the correct dose?
We are not static, and our medications and supplements shouldn’t be either. Over time, as we age, make lifestyle changes and the medical field evolves, our medications may need to be adjusted, switched or we may discover that they are not needed at all. It is essential to discuss with your health care provider all of the medications and natural health supplements you are taking, as well as the frequency and dose. It can be helpful to bring the bottles with you, or take a picture to show your physician.
5) What are my options? Are there any alternatives?
It is important to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding on treatment options. Often there are a variety of options with different efficacies, costs and side effects. Be sure you are getting the right treatment option for you as an individual.
The six principles. Association of Accreddited Naturoathic Medical Colleges. Retrieved from: http://aanmc.org/naturopathic/6principles/
What are screening tests. Lab tests online. Retrieved from: https://labtestsonline.org/notes/screening-test
Five things you should ask your doctor at your annual check up. Women in Balance Institute. Retrieved from: http://womeninbalance.org/2013/05/09/five-things-you-should-ask-your-doctor-at-your-annual checkup/
Disclaimer: Any information is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care practitioner with any questions or health concerns you may have.