I like to ask “why.” I have always been the kind of person that wants to know why something works, or doesn’t. My college math professors hated that about me. I know it annoys my husband to no end:)
Finding the “why” is super important when it comes to your health. Here’s how to do it:
- Listen to what your symptoms are trying to tell you. Symptoms are messages that our bodies are sending us to let us know something is wrong. For example, so-called illnesses like depression and anxiety are typically symptoms of a larger issue. Suppressing the symptom with an anti-depressant without searching for what is causing it can lead to a lifetime of struggling to control the “symptom” while the cause of the depression or anxiety goes undetected. Please note: I am NOT saying stop taking your antidepressant or to not take them to begin with! Take the pill, which will allow you to have the energy to search for the cause!
- Research possible causes. This is where the DIY part of your health comes into play. Unfortunately, most doctors are only allotted around 15 minutes to spend with each patient. Even if they are amazing and care about their patients, their hands are tied without your help. You do the research, find out what your symptoms could be caused by, and show up at your next appointment armed with that information. Don’t be afraid to speak up!
- Start ruling things out. Many times, you can start ruling out the easy things before you can even get in to see a doctor. Do you suspect that a food sensitivity may be causing your arthritis to flare up? Eliminate the most common culprits (refined sugars, dairy, and gluten) and see if you feel better. If you do, start adding things back one by one until you don’t. Find a great elimination diet here
- Write down a history of when your symptoms first started. Understanding when something started happening and what was going on in our lives at that time can give us clues as to why it happened and what it was caused by.
- Ask for the right tests. Unless you are seeing a functional medicine doctor, your PCP is probably not testing for many of the possible causes of your symptoms. For example, depression or anxiety could be caused by issues with your thyroid. A simple thyroid test could rule that out OR save you from taking an antidepressant when what you really need is to fix your thyroid. Get educated about your specific symptoms and what they could be caused by and request the test! Most times they will be covered by insurance.
The most important thing to remember is that it is up to you to be your own health advocate! No one (except for maybe your mom) cares more about your health than you do. If you do not educate yourself and speak up about what you want for your health, who will?
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, and the content on the site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site.