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Know your illness

Arm yourself with knowledge about what ails you!

As a family doctor, I read journals, go to conferences, teach, participate in research and utilize the internet in order to stay current with the latest diagnostic tools and treatments for an extremely broad array of diseases and medical conditions.  Generalists, such as family physicians, internists and pediatricians, need to know a lot about a lot of things.  Most importantly, they have to know what they don’t know and how to find those answers.

Patients who are ill also need to be in the know!  They need to know everything about their disease so they can better manage their illness and better partner with their doctor.  It amazes me when I see a diabetic who was diagnosed 10 years ago and they still don’t know what a diabetic diet is or why they should be on a special diet.  Knowing what you don’t know is just as important for the patient as it is for the doctor.  Most often, what you don’t know is what hurts you.  Understanding the intricacies of a diabetic diet and why the American Diabetic Association recommends it could be the difference in a long fruitful life as opposed to living with diabetic neuropathy and kidney disease.

The primary reason for this blog is to provide you with an educational starting point.  Please spend some time on my resource page.  Explore the various sites available.  Use Diseases A to Z to find information about what ails you.  When you find a good site that is not listed on this website, let my office know so I can share it with others.

For those who say “I’m not a doc”, I ask you to take on the disease the way you handle your work.  If you are a manager, manage it!  If you are an accountant, it’s all in the numbers.  If you work construction, build your knowledge one piece at a time.  If you are a teacher, write a doctoral thesis.  I think you get the idea.

When you come to the office, come armed with knowledge and bring your doctor the facts and figures he/she needs to help you manage your health.  Lastly, if you are healthy, learn how to stay healthy.  Read about exercise, fitness, diet and stress management.  Your health is your greatest asset.  Understanding how to manage health prevents disease.  Learn to live wellthy.  Wellthy is not a misspelled word.  Without your health, your wealth is worthless.

Dr Segal blogs at www.livewellthy.org and is the co-author of "Diets and Other Unnatural Acts."

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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