Monmouth County's Ask The Doctor May/June

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H E A L T H A R T I C L E S A N D Q & A When to Get a Second Opinion . I encourage my patients to get second and sometimes even third opinions when they’re dealing with life-threatening cancer or elective surgery. Treatment options can vary widely in these areas, so I pro vide referrals to specialists, so my patients feel as informed as possible about their options. Be sure to bring your records or have them sent to the new office before your appointment so the doctor has the infor mation necessary to form an opinion. During the first appointment, explain what your doctor had recommended and ask their opinion about her advice: Do I really need surgery? What approach would you take? What’s your opinion about my options? When to Find a New Doctor . If you and your doctor continually don’t see eye to eye, it may be time to find another doctor. Red flags can include: • Pushing a certain treatment or product more than another • Touting his personal views or own products • Not making enough time for your questions or rushing through the appointment • Not being open to all treatment options • Not explaining things thoroughly • Being resistant to hearing other opinions • Being rude or curt As a doctor, it’s my job to provide advice for my patients and guide them toward better health. While I base my clinical decisions on evidence-based medicine, I don’t know everything. Your path to wellness requires shared decision making between you and your healthcare providers. If you’re not getting that now, get a second opinion—or a new doctor. Don’t Rely on Information on the Internet. At your appointment, avoid saying things like, “I already know what’s wrong with me” or “My friend says I have XYZ.” While it’s tempting to try to diagnose yourself, there is a lot of inaccurate medical advice on the Internet. I tell my patients to be discerning about the websites they visit; sometimes sites are fund ed by a pharmaceutical company that’s trying to push a particular medication or they’re the work of a well-meaning but ill-informed support group manager. Be cautious of the information that you read online. For example, if you’re trying to figure out what’s making you more tired than usual, you could wrongly diagnose yourself with everything from Lyme disease to sleep apnea to cancer. Physicians and other providers have dedicated their lives to medical education. Leave your diagnosis to the experts. If you want to read up on a condition, I recommend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and the New England Journal of Medicine.




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