The fact that you're reading this tells me that you are someone who cares about your health. You are likely to go to the doctor when you're sick, take care of yourself through nutrition and exercise, and try to make informed decisions about your healthcare. But have you ever thought about being your own patient advocate?

Ask Questions
Have you ever gone to the doctor and felt you didn't understand what was happening? It's common. Healthcare can be confusing, and doctors and nurses are often pressed for time. But that doesn't mean you should be left in the dark. Ask questions when you're at a doctor's appointment or in the hospital. Ask about your diagnosis, treatment options, and what you can expect regarding recovery. The more you know, the better prepared you'll be.

Do Your Own Research
In addition to asking your providers questions, do some research on your own. Look up your condition online, and read up on the available treatments and medications. This can help you feel more informed and in control. Talk with your doctor before making significant changes to your treatment plan but remember the decisions are still yours.

Keep Records
One of the keys to being your own patient advocate is staying organized. Keep track of your medical history, your medications, and your treatments. This will help you better communicate with your providers. You can use a notebook or computer program or download a medical records app on your phone to keep all the information together.

Be Assertive
If you feel like something isn't right, speak up. Develop the courage to advocate for yourself. Feel free to ask for a second opinion if you need one or schedule an appointment with another doctor to do so. You are the expert of your own body. If something doesn't feel right, speak up and get the care you need.

Build A Support Team
Surround yourself with people who care about you and can help you navigate the healthcare system. This might include family members, friends, online communities, or support groups. There are people out there who have gone through what you are facing. A support system can help you feel more confident and in control and make a big difference in your overall health and well-being.

Being Your Own Patient Advocate Is Empowering
Being your own patient advocate is about taking charge of your own health. It's about being informed, organized, and assertive. It's about building a support system and ensuring you get the best possible care. And perhaps most importantly, it's empowering. When you are your own patient advocate, you're in control of your own healthcare. You're making informed decisions and taking ownership of your own health and well-being. So don't be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and advocate for yourself. You deserve the best possible care, and being your own patient advocate is one of the best ways to get it.

What strategies have helped you become your own advocate?