The most common mistake that patients make is that the minute they start feeling better, they lose touch with their doctor. They stop the medication, and do not ask if there should be a follow-up prescription. They go back to old diet and fitness regimes, without paying attention to any changes that the doctor may have suggested. And they pretend like nothing had ever happened to them. This is a bad idea.
No one is suggesting that you see your doctor every week even after you feel better but particularly if you have a lifestyle disease, such as diabetes, or PCOS, or a history of heart-related illnesses, or a complicated family health history, or are prone to being diagnosed with the same illness often, you need to stay in touch! Note that even if you’re as fit as a fiddle and work out like a beast, and eat right, and do everything you can to stay healthy, saying hello to a doctor every three months is never a bad idea.
Let’s talk about the short-term, first. Say you were exhausted too often and went in to see you doctor. They diagnosed you with low vitamin B12 levels, prescribed medicines, asked you to change your diet and fitness, and told you to keep in touch. You did everything you had to for a week, felt better and never went back. A month later, you’re exhausted again, and you take those pills again, and feel better. Two months later, the exhaustion is back. It’s a vicious cycle now, and you only know that those pills made you feel better every time. What you are missing is that maybe the problem is bigger, and you have no idea what to look out for. Your doctor does!
And by not following up with routine consultations, you are at risk of getting worse. To the point where what may have just needed a simple intervention may now be much more complicated.
When you commit to your health for the long run, you have better chances of being healthy. It’s not rocket science to know this. As important as it is to stay in tune with yourself, and do everything you need to do to stay on track, a doctor’s role in this process is irreplaceable and invaluable. Remember that they are the one with the degree, not you. You may not even know 5% of what to watch out for. But if you build a genuine, honest, trust-filled relationship with your doctor, you will learn how to both monitor yourself, and let them monitor you.
Staying healthy is a holistic, and very intense, commitment. Your doctor is your most important ally on this journey.
- When they write out a plan for you, read through it thoroughly, and ask any questions you might have immediately. If you understand the treatment clearly, it will be much more effective. If something is not clear, or you are not comfortable with it, talk to the doctor and/or their team, to see how to handle it.
- Always check in with them when you are done with a course of treatment.
- Stick to the follow-up regimen.
- Go back in at the end of that, and ask what to do.
- Keep them informed regularly.
- Do the tests they ask you to do, and get back with the results.