Taking Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself will help keep you as healthy as you can be. This section of the website provides some helpful information about what to do after you speak with your family physician.

Help With Health Issues

Medical Tests

Often, the earlier the cause of a health issue is diagnosed, the more likely it is that it can be cured or successfully managed. When you treat a health issue early, you may be able to prevent or delay associated problems. Treating minor problems early may also make other health issues easier to live with.

During your visit, your family physician may suggest:

  • Screening tests, which find health problems before symptoms appear. Examples of screening tests include:
    • blood and urine tests to find imbalances in your blood cells, chemistry or hormones;
    • mammograms to find breast cancer; and
    • colonoscopies to find colon cancer.
  • Diagnostic tests, medical examinations, and self-examinations, which find causes of your symptoms or other health problem early.

From Healthlink BC – Health Screening: Finding Health Problems Early

Referral to Another Doctor or Specialist

Specialists are doctors who have in-depth training and experience in a particular area of medicine. Your family physician may refer you to see a specialist to help provide clarity to make sure your health problem is addressed.

Specialists often provide the information you need to help you decide what to do about a major health problem and they can perform certain procedures not available through your primary care provider. For example, a cardiologist has years of special training in dealing with heart problems and a neurologist has years of special training in dealing with seizures or other problems with the nervous system.

Before you go to see a specialist:

  • Know your diagnosis or expected diagnosis.
  • Learn about your basic treatment options.
  • Make sure that any test results or records on your case are sent to the specialist.
  • Know what your family physician would like the specialist to do (for example, take over the case, confirm the diagnosis, conduct tests).
  • Ask your family physician to remain involved in your care. Ask the specialist to send new test results or recommendations to both you and your regular family physician.
  • Bring a list of current medications.

Adapted from Healthlink BC – Making Good Health Decisions: Should I see a Specialist About My Health Problem

Questions After Your Appointment

After you have seen a doctor and begun your treatment, watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your family physician if you have any problems or symptoms that concern you. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety3.

Healthy Aging Tip

If you’re worried about how more physical activity might affect your health, have a checkup before you start. Follow any special advice that your family physician gives you for getting a smart start4.

Making Another Appointment

Your family physician might recommend a follow-up appointment to check that your symptoms are improving. It is important to call your family physician‘s office to schedule a follow-up appointment in the recommended time frame.

Taking Medicine/Prescribed Treatments

Update the medical records that you keep at home, including new test results and medicine changes3. Follow directions from your family physician for taking medication. Pay attention to:

  • What time you take them, such as in the morning or evening, or at 8 a.m. or 6 p.m.
  • How much you take, such as 10 mL (2 tsp) or 3 pills.
  • How you take them, such as with water, with food, or on an empty stomach.
  • How long you take them, such as for 2 months or until your doctor says to stop.

From: Healthlink BC – Taking Medicines as Prescribed

Healthy Aging Tip

You can make your life easier, less stressful, and more meaningful by managing your time: Knowing what’s important helps you decide how best to spend your time. Use a day planner or notebook to plan your day or week. Just seeing on paper that there is a time to get your tasks done can help you get to work5.

Getting to Your Best Health

Staying on Track with Your Health

Follow the instructions your family physician gives you, including filling a prescription, scheduling tests, or making another appointment. Call your family physician if you still have questions or if there is anything you do not understand3.

Healthy Habits

A few things that you can do to help yourself stay healthy and feeling great as you grow older include:

  • Eating nutritious food.
  • Being active and exercising regularly.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Keeping yourself clean.
  • Following the special instructions (such as taking your medication) for any health conditions you may have.
  • Not smoking.
  • Keeping and building friendships with family and others you trust.
  • Learning positive ways to reduce stress.
Healthy Aging Tip

Replacing a “lost” activity is key to staying active. For instance, if you can no longer swim at the pool, go for a walk or join a stretching group6.

Sources & Citations

1. HealthLinkBC. (2016). Health Screening: Finding Health Problems Early.

2. HealthLinkBC. (2016). Making Good Health Decisions.

3. HealthLinkBC. (2016). Making the Most of Your Appointment.

4. HealthLinkBC. (2016). Fitness: Adding More Activity to your Life.

5. HealthLinkBC. (2016). Stress Management: Managing Your Time.

6. HealthLinkBC. (2016). Healthy Aging: Physical Vitality.

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