2008-10-23 / News

Five things you should know about your health

Americans consider health care as one of the most critical "kitchen-table" issues that they face today. They are concerned about the cost of health care, but also about the value of service they receive from their health care provider.

The Georgia Association of Physician Assistants (GAPA) wants to help you take charge of your health and encourages you to forge a cooperative partnership with your health care provider that depends on your participation in the health care process.

"Health care providers are trained to do the very best they can to keep you healthy, but now the patient needs to play a role in the process too," remarked GAPA President Tina Hood PA-C, MPAS. " It is your responsibility to help because you know your body and health history better than anyone."

GAPA recommends learning these five things about yourself and sharing them with your health care provider:

1. Health history - It is important to be able to give the doctor information about your current or past health conditions including surgeries, vaccinations, chronic conditions and other health issues you may have or have experienced. If you switch providers or have multiple doctors, make your current doctor aware of any lab tests or documents from other physicians because they do not necessarily communicate with one another.

2. Family medical history - High blood pressure, cancer, heart attack, diabetes and other medical conditions can be hereditary. It is important to tell your health care provider which diseases and issues are common in your family, so you can be monitored and tested. The U.S. Surgeon General offers a convenient and free online tool, "My Family Health Portrait," where you can organize your family's medical history and print a graphical family tree.

3. Allergies - Keep an updated list of your food, environmental and medicine allergies. It is extremely important to tell your doctor about your drug allergies, to receive proper medication that does not cause adverse reactions.

4. Prescriptions - Keep a list of the medicines you are taking, along with the dosage, frequency of use and strength of the medicine. Web sites such as MedSort provide a free resource that allows you to record and organize your medicine use online.

5. Health statistics - Make note of any significant changes in your medical or physical conditions such as blood pressure, weight, short-term illnesses and other irregular symptoms or episodes. Try jotting down irregularities in a personal journal or diary. There is also a web site, "My Personal Health Record," that allows you to compile your health and general information together in one place.

"All of this information is important to tell your health care provider so you can receive adequate treatment, but it is also valuable for you to be aware of your body and any health issues," advised Hood.

For more information on the Web sites mentioned above, visit: - "My Family Portrait": http:// www.hhs.gov/familyhistory - MedSort: www.medsort.com - "My Personal Health Record": www.myphr.com.

It is the mission of the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants to promote high quality, cost-effective, accessible health care as part of a physician directed PA/physician team in Georgia. To learn more health tips or how PAs make health care more affordable and accessible in Georgia, please visit www.GAPA.net and click on "Patients."

Return to top