If you want to lower your bad cholesterol in the next thirty days and experience a lifetime of good health, you will need to work effectively with health care professionals, including your doctor, nurses, pharmacists, and (possibly) nutritionists, dieticians, holistic practitioners, and lipid specialists.
Communicating effectively with your doctors and care givers is very important, since you will need to give them information about your condition and symptoms which could help them treat you. In today’s world, however, where many doctors and care givers are rushed and overworked, it may be difficult to communicate in the given time your doctor appointment may take.
You can make it easier to communicate with health care workers by choosing the right ones. Choose a doctor and specialists you feel most comfortable with and trust. These professionals should have credentials that make you feel that you’re in good hands and should also genuinely listen to what you have to tell them.
If you feel that your problems aren’t being taken seriously, there is no reason why you shouldn’t find a health care professional who’ll listen and give you the care you need. Ask friends and family members for recommendations or ask for a referral for a second opinion.
Once you have found a doctor that you trust, try not to stop there. Ask questions often and from as many people as possible. Ask friends and family members about their experiences with high cholesterol, ask the nurses who take your blood samples about the procedures of lab tests, take the pamphlets and booklets that are offered for free at many clinics.
The more professionals and people that you ask and the more information that you gather, the better you’ll be able to use your time with your doctor, since you’ll know the basics and will be able to ask directed and focused questions in the time you have with your doctor.
As you work towards lower cholesterol over the next 30 days, also work to understand all you can about cholesterol and cholesterol treatments. Research and knowledge will make you more able to take the steps you need to lower your cholesterol.
Always come to your appointments prepared. Do your research ahead of time, so that you don’t spend the limited time you have with health care processionals asking basic questions such as “what is cholesterol?” which you could find elsewhere. Spend some time with your doctor raising concerns, asking for cholesterol information which is relevant to your particular case, and getting instructions.
One excellent way to be prepared to talk to your doctor is to keep a journal about your heart and cholesterol health. Once your doctor determines that you have high levels of bad cholesterol, buy a plain notebook. In it, keep all the facts and information you find about your medication, cholesterol, and treatments.
Write down important contact numbers - including contact info for your doctor. Keep track of all the things that you do each day - including diet, exercise, and medical treatments - which may affect your cholesterol. In every day's entry, also note unusual symptoms or concerns you may have. Keep a running list of all the questions you may want to ask your doctor at your next appointment. Note down the progress you are making. Bring this journal with you when you visit your doctor. It will be invaluable to your health care professionals for helping you develop a form of treatment that works best for you.
Keeping a journal of your eating, exercise, lifestyle changes, and cholesterol-lowering progress is an important step you make as you lower your cholesterol over the next 30 days.
The most important thing about keeping your lines of communication open with your doctor is to always keep trying. Be regular with your appointments, always voice your ideas, and follow the directions that your doctor gives you.
If you have trouble following a specific cholesterol-lowering treatment - whether it’s because of side effects or lack of motivation – always be honest with your doctor about it. Your doctor needs to understand what you aren’t doing that may be affecting your treatment. Often, your health care professional will be able to give you some tips for making the treatment more realistic for you or may even be able to offer an alternative treatment for controlling your cholesterol.
Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medication, herbal treatments, vitamins, and over the counter products you’re taking. These can affect your cholesterol medication and may also affect some medical tests.
Doctor Question Checklist
There are certain questions that you need to answer about your condition over the next 30 days. Whether you get the answers to these questions from your doctor or from another reputable health care professional, if you really want to effectively lower your cholesterol, it is important that you understand the answers to the following questions:
• What exactly am I being treated for and what is my exact condition and prognosis right now?
Never assume that a level of high bad cholesterol is what you are being treated for primarily. Your doctor might be more worried about another condition that is related to high cholesterol - such as obesity, for example - and might be focusing on that in order to help you achieve health.
Understanding what you are being treated for can help you to understand what you should be focusing on. Getting the exact numbers and figures which are related to your condition - such as the actual cholesterol levels - can also help you keep track of your progress as you make the change you need to make in order to become healthier.
• What are the details of the medications I am taking?
Get a list of the drugs and treatments you are taking (including the full names) as well as their risks, their side effects, and exactly how they should be ingested. Ask about any ingredients or medications these drugs could react with, how these drugs should be taken (on an empty stomach, with food, or at specific times of the day) and also find out how the drugs should be kept.
Many chemists now provide complete print-outs which tell you everything about the medications you’re taking. It is well worth your while to seek out a chemist or pharmacist that may give you detailed information about your cholesterol-lowering drugs and can answer all your questions about your medication. Find out what you are supposed to do if you forget a dose or experience some side effects.
• What symptoms should I be looking for that indicates that I should look for help right away?
Medication and treatments for high bad cholesterol carry many risks, and having higher cholesterol carries its own specific risks as well. Knowing which symptoms indicate that you need to seek some medical help fast - and knowing where to seek that help - can save your life. Write down the symptoms you need to stay alert for and carefully note down what you need to do if you experience specific symptoms. Review this until you know it well.
• What are the steps I need to take in order to improve my condition?
Your doctor can recommend specific steps and instructions you can follow to improve your health. Whether it’s a specific diet or a special treatment, knowing what is expected of you is important. Write these down as goals to be achieved.
• What diet and exercise steps are right for me?
Whilst a low-fat diet and moderate exercise can help you to lower cholesterol, your doctor can recommend specific routines which can address specific issues in your medical history. If you have diabetes or food allergies, for example, your doctor can help you determine exactly what exercise and diet plan may be right for you.
If you have illnesses such as diabetes or other health problems that might affect your diet and exercise, this is an especially important question to ask yourself as you start making changes to lower your cholesterol.
• What amount of sodium, fat, cholesterol, calories, and other elements can I eat each day?
Based on your medical profile, your doctor can tell you exactly how much of what you should be eating, which may make it easier for you to tell what you should be eating - and in what portion sizes.
• Who else may I talk to and what other resources are open to me?
Most doctors are aware of many of resources, including books, pamphlets, support groups, and other specialists which can help you lower your cholesterol and help you make the choices you need to make.
• Am I a candidate for other cholesterol treatments and/or for other tests?
Understanding which other treatments and tests might help you - in the future, if not right now - can help you to see the options you can have for treating your high cholesterol. Often enough, by getting your doctor to explain why you are getting specific medication, you can better understand your overall health situation.
• What are my recent test results?
Again, write them down so that you can see your progress and evaluate where your health is now.
• What’s next?
Before you leave your doctor’s office, you must always know what you should be doing next to improve your cholesterol levels and health. Whether it’s scheduling a follow-up appointment or waiting for the results of another test, make sure that you know what the next step of your treatment is.
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