Six Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
King County is teaming with the nonprofit Puget Sound Health Alliance to present Own Your Health, a campaign to empower consumers to become active participants in their own health and health care.
In this Health Matters, we’ll give you some tips about how you can take care of yourself, the new Own Your Health topic. No matter what your situation: taking care of yourself means being good to yourself.
- Whenever you start a new medication or treatment, watch carefully for possible side effects or other problems.
When you start new medication or treatment, it can be hard to know how your body will respond. For your safety, keep a careful watch on your health during the hours and days after you start the medication or treatment.
- Don’t hesitate to call your doctor’s office with any questions or concerns you may have. If you notice any new symptoms or problems, let your doctor know right away.
- Even if you are feeling a lot better after a few days, make sure to follow through with the full course of treatment. Don’t make changes in your treatment or stop a recommended treatment without first talking with your doctor.
- Gather information to learn more about your health condition and treatment.
Good quality health care doesn’t happen automatically. To get it, you need to be informed and involved. After a medical visit, you may want to learn more about your health condition and treatment.
- Getting more information can help you understand issues involved in your care and things you can do to help recover as quickly as possible.
- If you have decisions to make about your treatment, learning more can help you make decisions that are right for you. Depending on your situation, you might be able to find information about scientific research on which types of treatment could work best for you.
- Ask your doctor for advice on where you should look to get more information about your health condition or treatment choices.
- You can also ask your health insurer for information on your condition.
- If you have a long-term condition, learn ways to stay as healthy as you can and get the support you need.
Many people have ongoing or long-term health conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, depression, diabetes and heart disease. If you have an ongoing health condition, the day-to-day management of your condition is really up to you.
- You’re the one who has to follow through on doing what you need to do for your condition and schedule the appointments to get the regular medical care that is recommended.
- It’s you who knows the most about your own body and decides when you can handle a symptom on your own and when you need to go in for care.
- Know what types of regular care you need for your condition and stay on schedule for getting this care.
You might think that everyone who has an ongoing condition gets the regular care needed for their condition, but studies show that many do not. For example, many people with diabetes don’t get all of the blood tests, eye exams and other care they need to help prevent complications.
- To be sure you are getting good quality care, take an active role in finding out what types of regular care you should be getting and then make sure you get this care.
- To learn about the quality standards for your condition, ask your doctor and check with the national associations, nonprofit groups, and government agencies that focus on your condition.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices.
Your lifestyle choices have a big impact on your health, especially if you have an ongoing health condition.
- Staying physically active, not smoking, eating healthy foods, and maintaining a healthy weight are lifestyle choices that will help you feel better and can help prevent your health condition from getting worse.
- Making healthy choices can be challenging. It’s doing your best to face those challenges that matters.
- Get the support you need.
Support groups can be a great source of encouragement and practical advice.
- Participating in a support group discussion can help you understand more about how to handle the day-to-day management of your particular health condition or help you make changes toward a healthier lifestyle.
- For some long-term conditions, support groups are available online, and some have a panel of medical experts who answer questions. To get help in finding an in-person or online support group, ask your doctor, health insurer, or a community-based organization.
Visit the new Taking Care of Yourself page on the Own Your Health website for more ideas and handy resources, like a “Personal Medication Tracker” and the practical guide “Next Steps After Your Diagnosis: Finding Information and Support.”