We are pretty smart creatures, aren’t we? We have pain for a prolonged period of time, we make an appointment to see the doctor. Sometimes the doctor finds something and orders further tests or gives us a prescription, which he or she expects us to fill. What do most people do? A brain, time and two hands with ten fingers, we go on the Internet and research things further. Seemingly harmless, what we are in effect doing is second-guessing the multiple years of schooling our doctors have gone to the trouble of obtaining. There isn’t any sense in telling you not to do it, but here some things that regardless how smart you are, you should never do.
• Stop taking a prescription before the bottle is empty
• Not taking the prescriptions as prescribed by your physician
• Not following up on tests ordered by your doctor
• Neglecting to schedule your annual physical
There are serious consequences to each of these and here you will find out what they are.
Never Stop Your Prescription Before the Bottle is Empty
This is a common thing that many people do. The doctor gives you an antibiotic for a bacterial infection. As she is writing the prescription she looks you square in the eye and says, “It is important that you take all the pills in the bottle, regardless how you feel.” And you reply, “Yes, doctor. I will.”
About the halfway point of a 14-day prescription, you feel great! Your symptoms are gone, your energy has returned and you are ready to jog 10 kilometers and even go back to work! You stop taking them. About four days later you relapse and wonder why. Although you may have felt better, the bacteria that caused you to feel ill hasn’t left your body. And guess what? Your doctor knew this because she understands the relationship between how many milligrams it takes to knock out infections, and spread out over 14 days, the bacteria will die.
Not Taking Medications as Prescribed
You tell your doctor that you are having difficulty with anxiety. You explain that out of the blue and for no apparent reason your palms are moist, your heart beats “a million miles an hour,” and your mind races with insane thoughts. She listens, deliberates and writes you a prescription for an anti-anxiety. Before she hands it to you, she says, “Only take this for acute anxiety. Never take it to prevent an anxiety attack that hasn’t occurred and never take more than one at a time.”
You go along for a few weeks and take it as prescribed. You get an anxiety attack, you take one, and within a few minutes, your nerves are calm and you are thinking straight. “Huh, if this works so well, maybe I should take one every day to prevent anxiety.”
Many drugs, such as these, are habit forming and if one is good, more is not better. You can become addicted very easily to some medications. Addiction to something that you could have prevented is a hassle to kick. Take prescriptions as directed.
Follow Up on Medical Tests
You visit your doctor who decides that further tests are in order to rule out or confirm her suspicions. You schedule the appointment with the lab. You come home and find out that your boss has scheduled a 7:30 a.m. meeting and you neglect to reschedule your blood tests. Weeks go by and you haven’t rescheduled. This is extremely dangerous. From diabetes to Lupus to cancer, by ordering further tests, your doctor had a concern. Any number of things you second-guessed could be serious and life threatening and not following up is ill advisable.
Neglecting Your Annual Physical
Each year our bodies can change a little or drastically. Maybe you gain a few pounds or maybe something grows that wasn’t obvious a year earlier. Changes occur internally that your doctor can’t see by just looking at you. Each year she schedules an annual physical, which includes a CBC/chem panel. Various things are being tested for with those three or four vials of blood. Changes in your blood sugar, cholesterol, liver enzymes, white and red cell blood count and fluctuations in your estrogen are just among the many things that can’t be told by looking at you. If your cholesterol is higher this year than it was last year, the sooner you know this, the more informed your decisions can be. If your white cell count is high, your doctor wants to know why. Conversely if your red count is low but you are no longer menstruating, this could be a sign of problems. Never neglect your annual physicals. Waiting another year could prove disastrous.
The bottom line is that your doctor knows what she is doing. Listen to her and follow her directions. All she wants is to keep you healthy.
The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.