78 apple Spring 2013
We can do a lot to become better
Practising healthy habits is one of
them. Lifestyle plays a big role in good
health and can help prevent many
illnesses such as heart disease, stroke,
diabetes and more. The first step in
a healthy lifestyle is eating a diet of
vegetables, fruits, whole grains and
lean meats and exercising regularly
(see “ 50 tips to a healthy summer” on
Drinking alcohol in moderation
and quitting a tobacco habit can also
dramatically improve your health.
Protecting yourself and those around
you by getting immunized can extend
your health year-round and an annual
check-up with your health-care
How to be a better patient
Help build a trusting relationship with your health-care professional
professional can help prevent major
Knowing the signs of major
health conditions such as heart
attack or stroke can help save lives.
I recommend people keep a list of
heart attack and stroke symptoms on
the fridge or close to the phone so
everyone knows and recognizes the
signs. Keeping phone numbers such as
Health Link, 1-800-408-LINK (5465),
near your phone can also help in times
of medical distress. If you think you or
someone close to you is having a heart
attack or stroke, go to a hospital. Have
someone else drive you.
Whenever you need to see a health-
care professional, it’s important
to practise good habits—good
patient habits help to build trusting
relationships between you and your
health-care provider and facility staff.
Before you go, write a list of any
medications, vitamins or supplements
you may be taking, as well as a list of
questions you want to discuss. Being
prepared will help your appointment
run smooth and your health-care
provider to assess, diagnose and treat
more precisely and quickly.
During the appointment be honest
about your lifestyle and health
can help you best when they how you
live. Honesty between you and your
health-care professional helps build an
open and trusting relationship.
Also try to listen carefully and ask
good questions. Some people take
notes or have someone with them at
appointments. It’s good to ask about
treatments or new prescriptions. For
example, something as common as
grapefruit juice can interact with some
medications. Don’t be afraid to ask for
more information or clarification.
Before your appointment ends, make
sure you understand the advice you’ve
been given and are comfortable with
any treatment plan.
Your choices can help you enjoy
better health—choose well.
— Kamalesh Gangopadhyay
Kamalesh Gangopadhyay is a retired doctor.
Your choices can help you enjoy better health and become a better patient.