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According to a Reader’s Digest article, there are at least six mistakes that your doctor could be making that could negatively impact your health. These mistakes range from failing to medicate extremely high blood pressure to not testing you for diabetes. Read on for these six mistakes that health experts see doctors make and the right moves you can make to prevent serious health problems as a result.

1. High blood pressure—your doctor may tell you that you simply need to make some lifestyle changes if test results show that you have high blood pressure. However, while the evidence shows that its okay to bring down mildly elevated blood pressure by changing your diet and getting more exercise, if your blood pressure is even moderately high your doctor must put you on medication because of an increased risk of a deadly heart attack or stroke. The right move? If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, you should almost certainly be on a prescription hypertension drug, according to a medical panel requirement crafted in 2003.

2. Immunization—if you’re not getting your kids (or yourself) immunized you are putting your family at risk of contagious and potentially deadly diseases such as measles or pneumonia. Researchers suspect that overwhelmed doctors may forget to urge their patients to get their children the required immunizations. However, some doctors also fail to keep track of their patients’ immunization schedules and end up giving shots too close together. You can remedy this problem by remembering that kids under two should get multiple shots at all their scheduled well-child visits. Also, remember to ask your doctor to compare your child’s immunization schedule against the guidelines.

3. Asthma—asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood but can be controlled with a corticosteroid. Using these medications on a regular basis can prevent your child from missing school, becoming sleep-deprived, and making fewer trips to the ER. However, many children don’t use these helpful medications. Sometimes it’s the parents’ fault because they either can’t afford the medication or don’t want their child to take the medication. Other times it’s the doctor’s fault, since some parents aren’t advise that their child should keep up with the regimen of medicine even after symptoms have subsided. Rule of thumb? If your child is over five and has asthma symptoms more than 3 times a week, or symptoms that keep him or her up more than twice a month at night, then they should be on an inhaled corticosteroid.

4. Lower back pain—if you come hobbling into the office complaining with lower back pain, your doctor may instantly want to take an MRI of the pained spot and then proceed to treat it with epidural steroid shots or spinal fusion surgery, for example. However, while back pain can drive you crazy, these treatments may do little good and could result in increased pain and long-term harm. Instead, simple steps like taking acetaminophen, starting an exercise program to strengthen the muscles of the back, or using a heating pad can lessen pain and save you from more severe health problems from unnecessary treatments.

5. Heart attack—if your doctor does not give emergency care or skips aftercare these could be devastating moves on your chances of survival either during or after suffering a heart attack. Immediately treating a heart attack with aspirin, clot-busting drugs, or an angioplasty could mean the difference between life and death. Similarly, cardiac rehabilitation is an important part of aftercare. Thus, if you have serious heart disease, you should check whether your hospital participates in an American Heart Association Program called “Get With the Guidelines” which serves as a reminder system for hospitals to make sure that they refer you to cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack.

6. Diabetes—about a quarter of Diabetes sufferers aren’t even aware that they have it. This can lead to unnecessary amputations or heart and kidney disease, which can easily be prevented with proper monitoring of blood sugar levels. Experts urge doctors to keep an eye out for people with a high risk of the disease, including those with a body mass index of 25 or above, as well as secondary risk factors such as high cholesterol or blood pressure. Ask to be tested if you know you have these risk factors and your doctor doesn’t suggest a test. You should also be tested again in 3 years.

One Comment

  1. The back pain information is right on, seems like there are to many attempts at quick fixes. Thanks for a very helpful article that will hopefully keep more people alive.

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