Home' Nova National : January 2009 Contents HEALTH NATUROPATHY
© NOVA JANUARY 2010
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HOW EFFECTIVE are you at managing
your health? Do you see a naturopath who
gets you to fill out questionnaires, quizzes
you on anything and everything, examines
you and tests you with a variety of tests
to reveal your state of health? Or perhaps
you simply have someone who cooks you
good meals, puts out your vitamins and
nags you if you drink too much alcohol or
settle for junk food?
Of course, you have your doctor who
may write your scripts, take your blood
pressure and send you off for a scattering
of blood tests each year. Perhaps you also
have a terrific pharmacist, physiotherapist,
chiropractor or personal trainer to help
All of these can be terrific resources
but, in reality, the most appropriate
person to manage your health is probably
yourself, and one of the greatest tools
you can use for effectively managing your
own health is record keeping. Develop
your own Personal Health File (PHF)
and take this to each of your healthcare
appointments and observe the smile of
gratitude as the busy practitioner in front
of you appreciates what you have done.
They will probably want a copy.
There is no comprehensive universal
healthcare database linking up all of your
medical and para-medical contacts to help
your practitioner assess your past, present
or future health. This is why at healthcare
appointments we are repeatedly asked
to fill in forms requesting information
ranging from cursory to almost invasive,
and as good as your memory might be,
there is a strong chance that you won't
remember everything. A PHF should
contain a copy of every test that you
have had, as well as a chronological diary
of your medical history, including
medications you have been prescribed,
by whom, what for, how long you took
them and with what result. Detail hospital
stays and accidents, injuries or surgical
procedures and outline your family
medical history including siblings, parents,
grandparents. Include your allergies,
dietary specifics, vaccination history, and
even weight fluctuations, alcohol intake
and work and exercise hours.
Medical records may be lost,
overlooked, disregarded or misinterpreted.
If you haven't visited your practitioner for
several years then it is even possible that
your records may have been destroyed.
These are all good reasons for asking for
copies of current and past test results,
including blood pressure numbers -- don't
be shy, they're your records. Even if you
can't interpret them someone else will be
able to. I find it frustrating when clients
don't bring their recent test results, but
comment that they have had "everything
tested and it was all fine". Everything is
never tested and my interpretation of
"fine" often differs. Leaving at home
supplements and medications and
describing them as "small, brownish and
oval" is just as unhelpful. An up-to-date PHF
would solve these problems in a flash.
Learn about your health as you monitor
changes in your test results. Even changes
within the realm of a good or normal
reading can tell a story. For example, if your
fasting blood sugar reading of 4.6 begins
to rise slightly by just 0.2 a year, then it
might take a good six to eight years before
it creeps outside the healthy range and
the alarm bell is sounded. By this time
insulin resistance might be entrenched,
blood pressure elevated, cardiac arterial
and renal damage underway and numerous
chronic illnesses quietly developing,
all requiring time, effort, finances and
medication to correct.
Alternatively, a quick glance at your
well-ordered PHF records by an astute
practitioner, or even yourself, several
years earlier might have picked up
subtle changes developing and simple
intervention might have easily headed off
the problems. Keeping a PHF plays a strong
preventative role and it can be that easy
and that effective.
Include a record of health professionals
as you encounter them also to allow others
to see who has assessed your health and
what treatments were used. This may
prevent tests from being unnecessarily
redone or medications inappropriately
We are complex beings, with numerous
important pieces of our individual puzzles.
The more pieces you put in place; each
test, lifestyle habit, inherited trait, toxin
exposure, medication taken, symptom
expressed, hypothesis proposed or
diagnosis given, the clearer the picture
becomes and your complicated puzzle can
become your story.
Taking such an active role in your own
health care is worth the effort as it can
help provide you with better health
outcomes. The more clearly you record
the details, the higher the likelihood
that you will reap the benefits of your
attention to detail -- or at least it may make
fascinating reading in your absence.
It has been said that the secret to
longevity is to have a chronic illness and
manage it well. I'll settle for the good
management without the chronic illness.
Who is keeping tabs on your health? I do
hope you are from now on.
Good health, Jeremy Hill
Jeremy Hill (Diploma of Natural Therapy)
is a Qualified Naturopath
'Develop your own Personal Health File (PHF) and take this to
each of your healthcare appointments.'
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