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How to Become Your Own Health Care Advocate

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When it comes to your health care, sometimes you need to be your own biggest support system. Here’s what you need to know in order to do so.

A scary diagnosis doesn’t have to strip you of your power; in fact, when a doctor delivers any less-than-positive news, it’s your time to become your own biggest advocate. You have the ability to take ownership over your health, and there are so many tools you can use to push through. You’re strong, you’re capable, and you’re ready for anything. Here are some quality tips — and resources! — for conquering this new health challenge.

  • Do as much research as possible. Without falling down a scary rabbit hole, get ready to read . . . a lot. Read books, read studies, and read recent science-based articles that provide context around whatever your issue or diagnosis is.
  • Consider getting a second opinion. Even though your doctor is doing the best they can to give you the care and answers you need, it may be helpful to get a second professional opinion regarding your diagnosis. Understanding and considering your options is an important part of being your own healthcare advocate.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. The more questions you ask, the better prepared you can be for the ways your life may change, and the more empowered you’ll feel to find possible treatments or solutions. Seek resources at your healthcare facility and in your community. Call your insurance and ask for everything they provide. Read forums to see what others are asking, too.
  • Get the full story. Give yourself time to stay on the phone with your health insurance and doctor's office to hear the full story about your diagnosis. Don’t rush this process; absorb as much information as you can and if you don’t understand anything, ask them to explain again.
  • Seek out a support team. It may be helpful to consider a "team" approach when it comes to maintaining whole body wellness in the midst of a new diagnosis. A nutritionist or dietician may be able to provide you with diet and nutritional advice that can help further support your health. You may also want to consider a psychotherapist — mind over matter is going to be imperative during this time, and a great therapist can help with that.
  • Use the proper products to manage the symptoms you have power over. There are many accessible products and tools for managing smaller but irritating symptoms caused by a bigger health issue or even the medication needed to treat it. For example, if you’re suffering from dry mouth, Biotene Dry Mouth Gentle Oral Rinse provides gentle and effective dry-mouth symptom relief. It’s a fresh, gentle rinse that lasts up to four hours (as measured in a 7-day clinical study). Using products like Biotene that bring relief from certain issues can take some stress off your plate, so you can focus all your energy on getting back to 100 percent again.

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