Working with Your Health Care Team

Health Care Team

When you have autoimmune disease(s), it is so very important to stay in touch with your health care professionals, no matter who they are. It’s the only way to stay on top of what’s going on. Even if you don’t have autoimmune issues, it’s a good thing to keep on top of your health.

For me that means all my health care team includes neurologist, ophthalmologist, rheumatologist, endocrinologist, family physician, nurse practitioner, naturopathic doctor, dentist and don’t forget the pharmacist.

In 2014, I sat down at my computer and listed all the things I have had diagnosed in my lifetime. On top of that I included ALL medications and supplements. Now, whenever I am prescribed a medication, it immediately gets added. If I am prescribed a supplement by my naturopathic doctor, it goes on my list. Also included on this list is all my allergies and surgeries I’ve had over the years.

When ANYTHING changes, I immediately change the list to included the new information, make several copies, and carry them with me to any appointments I have scheduled. That way, no matter what medical professional I see will be given an updated copy of that list. This enables them to make the changes required to their system as well. They also are informed of what other things you are taking that might influence the medications you are taking – this would be important for your pharmacist as well. I can’t think of any other way to help make everyone’s jobs and lives easier and more informed. Plus, when you go to someone new, you can provide your list to them instead of filing in a myriad of paperwork while sitting in the waiting room, which for me takes forever!

Something I request from my medical professionals is copies of any letters, blood tests, or other test results. Don’t be afraid to ask for that information. Remember, this is about you and you have paid for it, so you should also have a copy of it in your possession. I keep a binder that contains all my prescription information, blood work, medical letters, and anything else that pertains to my health. I know it’s a lot of information for some of us, but I really think it’s important to have it in case you need to look something up. I keep close track of my blood tests, so having them in a binder gives me the opportunity to check against previous ones which might help me determine if I need to correct anything that has changed – usually diet wise. Because I always make an appointment to discuss any blood work that has been done, any necessary changes would be done with advice from my health care team. I don’t really want to be calling a doctor’s office to get this information – they are way too busy and I think it’s our responsibility to take more responsibility for our own health.

Should you have any reactions to medications or supplements you are taking, make sure you inform the professional that prescribed it to ensure they have a record. Also inform your pharmacist, as they can in turn refer your symptoms to the manufacturer.

An example for dentistry is when I had my hip replacement surgery in 2014, I was told that I needed to take an antibiotic and hour before ANY dental work (for the first 2 years after surgery), so that should any bacteria infect my body, it is already working to fight it off. It’s also important to note that ANY infection anywhere in your body will travel to the weakest spot (the hip in this case), so you should contact your health care team to let them know about any problems in this area.

So, not to be a broken record (hehe – that’s my age talking again), I think it’s really important to keep all of your health care team well informed. Make sure to keep them up to date on any different medications, supplements, allergies, or surgeries of which they may not already be aware.

Have a blessed day.