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Become an Informed Health Care Consumer

 

Take Responsibility for Your Health

Be proactive in your family's health care. You have some control over many health conditions through your own lifestyle choices.

  1. Learn how your heart works and what it needs to stay healthy.  The more you know, the more likely you are to prevent problems and know when to see your doctor. Read more…
  2. Stay active.  Inactivity may lead to excess weight.  Excess weight leads to strain on your heart, increase in blood pressure and cholesterol, and risk of diabetes.  Discuss with your doctor what level and type of activity would be best for you. Read more…  
  3. Develop and maintain a healthy diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low in saturated fats. Read more…
  4. Learn to manage your stress.  When not dealt with, stress can cause physical problems that damage your heart. Read more…
  5. Don’t avoid the doctor.  Keep your doctor informed of your personal and family medical history. Keep your physical exams up to date, especially if you have risk factors. 
  6. Learn about your medical coverage before you have a medical emergency.

 

Be Informed

Learn about your own and your family's illnesses. Consider yourself a partner in your care and treatment.

  1. Learn the signs of a heart attack and what steps to take, you can save a life – maybe your own. Read more…
  2. Understand medications used to treat heart conditions and get details on them. Read more…
  3. Properly manage your medications by ordering a free Medication Management Checkbook --- courtesy of the Utah Department of Health.                                                               
  4. Remember, kids are at risk for heart disease too.  Be sure to teach and provide them what they need to live heart healthy lives.  Read more… 
  5. Ask the right questions of your health care provider. Take control of your own health! Read more…

Plan Ahead

Learn how to select a health plan that meets your needs before you become ill or need medical services. Select doctors and hospitals you trust. Check that they will work with your insurance company and are reasonably priced.

  1. Be certain to protect your wishes.  If you and your family decide on do not resuscitate (DNR) orders or end of life care, discuss this with your doctor and the hospital. Read more…
  2. Take care of legal documents before you or a family member needs medical treatment. The Department of Aging and Adult Services provides free copies of Living Will and Power of Attorney for Health Care (Advance Directives) forms.

Be Knowledgeable

Learn about your health insurance plan or medical benefits. Many companies offer several insurance plans such as preferred provider organizations (PPOs) or health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Each plan differs in what it covers, its limits of coverage, and the rules that apply to the plan. Read more about the quality and cost of health plans in Utah. 
Know your personal and family medical history

  1. The Utah Department of Health provides an easy-to-use Family Health History Toolkit so you can get started today.
  2. Know your rights and responsibilities as a patient. Read more…
  3. Know the rules of your insurance plan before you use medical services.

If You Need Treatment

  1. Review your options.  The American Heart Association helps you to review treatment options, possible side effects, success rates and questions to ask your healthcare provider. Read more…
  2. Develop a treatment plan. It takes a team to develop and maintain a successful health program. Read more…
  3. Follow medication directions. If you are prescribed medications, take them exactly as directed. Maintain open discussion with your doctor about medications that might be beneficial to you if you discover arising problems. For helpful advice, read some quick tips to follow whenever filling a prescription.
  4. Speak up!  No one knows more about you than you do! Tell your doctor about your symptoms and what you think may be causing them. Ask what types of treatments are available and why your health care professionals are suggesting one treatment rather than another.

Please be aware that information in this report is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider and ask questions prior to starting any new treatment. 

CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

 

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Last updated: November 13, 2008 1:37 PM