Your Doctor Is Your Partner

Friday, 15 Aug 2014 12:37 PM

By Dr. Small

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In recent years, the Internet and other media have become important sources of medical information for the public, helping to make people savvier healthcare consumers.
 
In fact, some digital resources are providing the information on medical research, medications, herbal supplements, and potential treatment breakthroughs before physicians even get an opportunity to review the latest study findings.
 
Sometimes, however, this flood of information can lead to conflicts that are difficult to sort through without the help of an informed physician. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, approximately 80 percent of U.S. Internet users have searched for health information online, likely influencing their decisions whether or not to ask a doctor for help. The challenge for consumers is to distinguish between credible information and that which is not to be trusted.
 
Your doctor can help you separate the facts from the hype.
 
I recommend that people develop a relationship with their physician that encourages discussion about what is best for their health. That kind of approach, which weighs both the benefits and potential risks of any diagnosis or treatment, will lead to optimal patient satisfaction.
 
Unfortunately, a lot of people are reluctant to speak candidly with their doctors. For instance, they may not wish to share the fact that they’ve gotten a second opinion out of concern that it might insult their primary doctor. Some patients are embarrassed about not taking prescribed medicine, feeling that somehow this will disappoint their doctors.
 
By developing a collaborative relationship with your doctor, you will be able to openly discuss strategies to evaluate and treat your medical issues. And because illness and its treatment can have important implications for mind health, you need to be able to address issues that pertain to both your body and your brain.
 

© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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Gary Small, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry and aging, and director of the UCLA Longevity Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Small, one the nation’s top brain health experts, is author of The Mind Health Report newsletter.
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