10 Ways to Actively Participate in Your Medical Care

August 22, 2014 6:01 PM

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As a physician I have seen first-hand the different ways people face very similar diagnoses. Some face the challenges head on, in a very proactive and determined manner, while others succumb to the burden of their chronic illness. As a patient I recognize how easy it is to follow the second path and how much effort and planning it takes to forge the former. My challenge has been Young Onset Parkinson's disease, a diagnosis I received over 16 years ago. Regardless of our diagnosis, the fundamental approach is the same -- we must be active participants in our medical care if we are to learn to optimize our quality of life despite chronic disease. These are 10 ways to make yourself an active participant in the management of your chronic medical illness.

1. Educate yourself. You don't need a medical degree to become an informed patient. And being an informed patient will help optimize the management of your disease. Become familiar with the potential symptoms of your illness, what treatments are available and forthcoming, how your medications work a...

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