Medication | What To Ask Your Doctor Next Office Visit

Western Medicine dates back around 400 BCE where Hippocrates, often lauded as the father of Western medicine, changed the way of medicine over the centuries. Hey, not knocking holistic approach to healing, I will give credit to how far western medicine has come to an extent. On the other hand, I question the overall benefits when it comes to a persons overall health. However, thats another topic for another day.

During this journey since my diagnosis, medicine has been the center of my treatment. Doctors usually check your numbers which for me is number of joints inflamed (swollen). The higher, the worst and so forth. Now, doctors suggest a treatment plan that is meant to get these numbers down, resulting in person being in remission. What is remission? Remission is when there is no active flare for a period of time. Of course doctors want to be proactive with treatment, so they may start you with what I call, the starter drug. This is the default they give to new patients. If over time the medication is not getting those numbers down, they will up the dose or add more medication to your regimen and overtime change all together. Now this my friends, is what I call practice of medicine.

I want everyone to understand that doctors do not know what works for each and every patient. There is no one shoe fits all formula. With all that being said, I’ve been on this medication journey for 6 years now, and well sometimes I wish I would have asked early on key questions to ensure best plan of treatment.

Not sure if traditional medicine is the right plan of action? Not sure what the long term effects on medication can do to your body? Just lost out here trying to navigate the unknown? Here are 3 key questions you should ask your specialist your next office visit: 

  1. What Is Your Suggested 1 Year Treatment Plan. 

Now let me elaborate a little more. Like before everyone is different and I am no professional, so I’m speaking from experience as a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. As a patient you are diving into the unknown, especially if you’re a young adult thats had 0 chronic diagnosis’s before. It’s confusing and you put trust in the professional to give you the best. However, as a professional who is practicing and is unsure on how certain medication will effect a patient, there can be major treatment barriers from jump. Suggesting a 1 year treatment plan can give you and your doctor concrete goals to follow up on. This will help provide the doctor data to ensure you get proper care. It will also give the doctor that same data to adjust treatment as necessary. Make sure this plan include concrete data, time of observation, and resources to help you better your understanding of your condition. I say this all the time we know our body better than the doctor, make sure to speak up ALWAYS

  1. What Are The Different Medication Treatment Options?

Sounds like a simple common sense question, right? Well over the past 6 years, I’ve asked this simple question a few times and each time there’s a whole new list of new drugs and treatments to choose from. I personally started with the starter drug, next time I asked, there was this new injection drug out, then a new infusion option pops up. Now, this only goes to show there are new treatments coming out like movies in the healthcare world. One thing I had to learn was to really research and sit with my doctor as often as needed, to choose the right treatment. Make sure to take in account where you are at in your life and your goals when picking your treatment plan. There’s some medication you can not be on if you are trying to become pregnant and that’s just the basis. Considering all factors in the beginning can help with producing an effective treatment plan.

3. Are There Any Alternative Medicine or Treatments That You May Suggest?

I’ve noticed doctors don’t have much to say when it comes to the alternative/holistic approach to healing. Again, not their fault or say not their focus. They went to school to study and practice medicine. I’ve gotten responses like “there aren’t enough scientific evidence based trials”, after asking about nutrition “yeah you can do that”, and “it may help a little”. These vague responses indicate their only goal as the doctor is treat via traditional medicine. Shortly after challenging the doctor, she went right back into her focus: prescribing medication. Let me tell ya’ll, this medication journey hasn’t been a walk in the park and sometimes we all wonder is there more to life than taking pills for the rest of your life. Do not be afraid to explore other alternative options for your condition. I can say this all day, there is no one shoe fits all formula out there. Sometimes changing doctors who focus on the holistic approach can leave you better off. Remember to ask questions and monitor your body through this journey.

These 3 key questions will help you communicate with your doctor effectively. It is imperative to be very aggressive with your treatment plan. Creating plans, having your regular office visit, and research research research!! As a patient you should be the expert of your diagnosis. You live it daily, so it’s only right for you to take control. Gurus, what are some questions you wished you asked in your first years of your diagnosis? I want to know how you navigated working with your doctor to make sure they helped ensure you got the best treatment plan for your condition. 

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