Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Go to the Doctor
In this episode Dr. Oz explains to everybody why they should not be afraid to go to the doctor, and he encourages all to build a relationship with their family doctors. He discusses with Dr. Wanda Filer the reasons people might be afraid of going to the doctor, and how delaying their visits can make things worse.
Dr. Filer, President-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, explains why many people are afraid of seeing their physicians. One is, many are afraid of what they might hear. Another reason is, they are afraid of the questions that might be asked, thinking that they may be uncomfortable ones. This may also be because they’ve had some kind of traumatic experience in their childhood. So, she assures everybody that, “your physician is not there to judge you. They are there to be your advisor. And that’s what family medicine is all about.”
At this point, she discusses the responsibilities of a family doctor, and she reveals why your family should share the same physician.
What every Patient Should Know and Do:
- Family History
If you are one of the lucky ones who still have their parents around, talk to them about what kinds of illnesses or things that have been going on in relation to their health. First degree relatives are the people whose health are the most impactful to you. These are your father, mother, brother, sister and children.
Dr. Filer encourages patients to have good communication with their family doctors. This is always very important. It is crucial to be very honest even when the information you are giving is very sensitive or may be embarrassing. Your physician is not there to judge you. Think instead that your family history is important to determine its impact on your health. Your family doctor would want to know your medications and the doctors who have treated you in the past. Let your family physician be a trusted advisor and a part of the team that works to keep you healthy.
- Bring in all medications to your doctor
There are people who come in to their doctors with a list, but most don’t. Some don’t even know the name of their medication, they don’t know how much and why they take it. Dr. Filer advises everybody to bring everything, even those that they may think are not medicine, such as the over-the-counters and supplements.
Give your physician and yourself a chance to sit down as a team, and together go through the family history and current medications, and find out if there is anything that your doctor should be worried about. From these discussions, you and your doctor can come up with something that can keep you safe and healthy.
- Build up a relationship with your doctor
Dr. Filer says that doctors have the opportunity to take care of patients across the lifespan, and sometimes, even multiple generations. It’s important that doctors not only know patients based on the diagnosis they have, but know them as a person. Your physician must know what you do for a living, what you love, what you don’t like, and get a sense of your goal and help you feel strong and empowered. This way, as a patient, you can get the future that you’re looking for.
In view of this Dr. Filer recommends that a family shares the same physician. This will give you an advantage. As a family physician herself, she not only views you as one who has a disease, but looks at you as who you are in your family, who you are in your community, what kind of work you do and what kinds of hobbies you have. She can also know that there might be some family dynamics that’s making your life particularly painful. In addition, she can know your loved ones and other problems they may be facing, and what impact that is going to have on you. All these taken together would allow your family physician to be a better adviser to you around your total health care. And this will improve your health.
At this point, she explains what family medicine is. She says that after medical school, a doctor renders a three-year residency program in family medicine. There are currently 120,000 family medicine physicians in America. And these doctors take care of the newborns and help deliver babies. They take care of the patient and the parents across the generations. They handle multiple members of the family, doing home visits and hospital care, as well as working in nursing homes and hospices. Family physicians work in different settings. They take care of America, making sure that American families are healthier.