There's only one person out there who can make sure that you get the best medical treatment. And it's not your doctor, the CEO of your insurance company, or the nurse on call. It's you -- if you become a "smart patient," that is.
In "YOU: The Smart Patient," Drs. Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz tell you how to get the best care. The first step is knowing all about yourself and your family's medical history. Then you can create a "health profile" -- a one-page document you bring to all doctor appointments. You'll also learn how to find the best hospital for your specific ailment and which questions to ask your surgeon.
Below is an excerpt from the book.
Most people think they communicate with their doctors just fine. Better than fine, in fact. Fantastic. Given that most of the communication consists of nodding or a request for antibiotics, there's little to find fault with. That's the problem, of course. Most patients don't do a great job of communicating with their doctors because patients often give us too little pertinent information to go on (remember, just like the detective, we're looking for the facts). At the same time, they may also give us too many distracting or off-topic details. It reminds us a little bit of what a mechanic must think when we try to explain a noise in our car. We're not sure when it started, we're not sure what makes it worse, we think it's a whining sound but aren't sure...We bet this becomes a tedious monologue for those earnest professionals trying to help us. An almost identical conversation goes on in doctors' offices every day. To be accurate, the parallel exchanges often concern befuddled male patients. There's a reason that women aged thirty to sixty are the prime decision makers about health care in the United States. Most of the guys they love either have no clue about their health needs or wouldn't see a doctor unless they had blood shooting out of both ears.
The goal of this chapter is to make sure you know the details and numbers in your health profile that you really need to know -- those stats and specifics that are crucial to you and your doctor. We always see health books and well-intentioned magazine articles that tell you to compile so much stuff, we get winded just reading the list. The average person would have to take a week off from work and probably hire a bounty hunter to get everything recommended. You don't need to do that, but you do need to assemble a thorough health history so that you'll have a body of evidence to use when working with your doctor. A big part of being a Smart Patient is knowing how to compare new evidence (such as new test results) against the old. Like Sherlock Holmes, even though something may seem elementary to everyone else and not worth asking about, you need to press on with your questions and your investigation. We'll make compiling your health history simple enough to do, but we won't oversimplify the tasks so you lose accuracy. It's a small time investment that could save your life, so get started right away.
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