Five Ways You Can Advocate for Your Own Health

Current trends in healthcare require each individual to be well-informed about their health. You must establish a pleasant relationship with your healthcare provider if you are fighting a chronic illness. 

Receiving a medical diagnosis can be emotionally daunting, and you may need the support of caregivers and healthcare providers to help you make decisions about your treatment options. 

Advocating for your own health means getting the healthcare you deserve. You and the doctors and nurses who treat you are a team. Your team can guide you about the treatment options available and how much they will cost you. This information can help you make the best choice in fighting any medical condition, such as cancer. 

We will now discuss how you can advocate for your health. 

Be Informed

If you have been diagnosed with a medical disease, the first step in your treatment plan is to be informed. You will have many questions about the factors that led you to get a medical illness like cancer. You can research the causes of different cancers and check whether you are at high risk for cancer if you don’t have a family history. Were there any avoidable circumstances or workplace hazards that could have prevented you from getting a disease? 

If you have had exposure to dangerous chemicals at your workplace, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer. If you have been recently diagnosed with lung cancer and have had exposure to asbestos at work, you are entitled to lung cancer compensation. Being informed about getting compensation for avoidable medical conditions can reduce the financial burden of treatment on you and your family members. 

Be Vocal 

You don’t have to suffer with your illness in silence. You can seek emotional support from your loved ones if you’re having trouble coming to terms with your medical condition. You can also discuss your concerns with your physician, and they can guide you on how to look after yourself as you battle a chronic medical illness like cancer. 

You must voice your concerns to your physician regarding the available treatment options. Note down the pointers that concern you, such as the risks and side effects and the success rate of each treatment regime. Being vocal about your illness will help you stay informed and decide to start your treatment.

Seek Community Support

Health advocacy groups are not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to guiding and supporting patients battling medical conditions. If you’ve recently been diagnosed and feel clueless, you can find and approach health advocacy groups in your community. They will help you connect with experienced physicians dedicated to your illness. They will also help you to meet people with the same illness so you can share your concerns and seek emotional support from other survivors. 

Explore Treatment Options

With the right guidance, you can also connect to other physicians who can offer you treatment options other than your primary physician suggested. It may be that physicians out of state may have better options available than those in the state. It is always advisable to seek a second opinion from multiple healthcare providers and choose treatment options with reasonable costs, shorter durations, and a lower side effect profile. 

Consulting other doctors for a second opinion is an underutilized benefit of our healthcare system. The availability of multiple physicians to consult for a diagnosis allows the doctors to discuss your case with their peers and help you make an informed decision with their valuable expertise. 

Communicate Effectively With Healthcare Providers

You will only receive the quality healthcare you deserve if you’re open and honest with your healthcare team. Do thorough research about your illness before the doctor’s visit, and note down any symptoms you have been experiencing. Don’t hesitate to ask questions during your visit, and ask about the side effects of medications you’re being prescribed. You can also write down questions to ask your doctor on your next visit. You can cooperate in your recovery by attending your appointments on time and complying with all medications. 

Remember, your doctor and healthcare team are your allies against any medical condition or disability. They will facilitate your treatment to the best of their abilities because healthy people who contribute to society lessen the burden on the healthcare system.

Empowering Yourself through Health Education

The CDC reported that only 12% of Americans have sufficient health literacy to make decisions regarding their health for themselves and their families. As defined by the CDC, personal health literacy is “the degree to which individuals can find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.”

Certain groups of people may not have adequate health literacy, which puts them at a disadvantage in advocating for their health. These include people 65 years or older, Hispanics, or African Americans who have no medical insurance or belong to lower income levels. 

Each individual has a social responsibility to educate themselves about medical conditions they suffer from. You can also share your knowledge with others in your community and join patient advocacy groups to share your valuable experience. You may not realize it, but you may serve as a ray of hope for someone who has recently received a diagnosis and is overwhelmed with anxiety. 

Conclusion

The American healthcare system is one of the most challenging, especially for a patient with a disability or a medical illness. People may have trouble reading medicine labels or filling out their insurance forms. Advocating for your health ensures that your illness doesn’t put you at a disadvantage, encouraging you to be vocal about your rights as a community member. 

 

Your illness cannot dictate how you live the rest of your life. Advocating for your health also gives you the confidence to offer this help to others. You can join patient advocacy groups and facilitate other patients in your surroundings. You will find a purpose in your life once you choose to advocate for your own health and that of other family members.