September 9th, 2019
Being involved starts with understanding your health problems. Some health problems have confusing names, make sure you know what each problem means. (For example, nephrolithiasis is the medical term for kidney stones.) Then start asking questions, and getting answers that make sense to you. If the answer to your question leads to more questions, it is okay. Keep asking until you understand the answers. Last, start making good choices in your healthcare. Remember: Doctors and nurses are there to make recommendations and provide advice but ultimately it is up to you to follow the plan and make the choices that best fit your lifestyle and preferences.
- Make a list of questions before your appointment so that you get the answers you need.
- Know your diagnosis – this allows you to become educated about your health and identify options, treatments or even support groups for more information.
- Talk with family members about any family health history. Certain problems can be passed from one generation to the next.
- Be honest with your doctor. For example, if you are not taking your medications, let your doctor know and why. There may be a different medication that can be used.
- If you have questions about diet, exercise, and test results, ask for clarity in the recommendation.
- Understand your treatment plan – make sure you understand what you need to do before you leave the office.
- Stay away from Dr. Google. Not everything you read on the internet is accurate or specific to your situation.
Involved patients that become educated about their disease make better long term choices, have better outcomes and are more satisfied with their healthcare experience.
ARE YOU TAKING MULTIPLE MEDICATIONS?
Did you know that some medications are harmful to your kidneys?
Many medications do not affect your kidneys. Other medications can damage your kidneys causing a decrease in the kidney’s ability to clear the waste products from your blood. This may result in a higher creatinine or a lower GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate). (Healthier kidney function shows up in your blood tests as a lower creatinine and higher GFR.)Before taking any new medication, make sure to ask your doctor if the medication is safe for you and your kidneys.
Get involved in your healthcare. Make your health a priority.
5 Ways to keep your doctors informed regarding your medications:
At your next appointment, ask the nurse to print out a medication list to carry with you at all times. Confirm that your home medications match what the doctor has on file. If one doctor changes a medication, update your list and bring it to future appointments. It is important that all of your doctors have an accurate and current list of your medications.
Know why you are taking certain medications. If you do not know, ask your doctor. You can record that information on your medication list. Your pharmacist is also a great source of information about your medications including side effects.
Inform your doctor of any changes in medications – both short term medications (like antibiotics) and long term ones (like a new blood pressure medication).
Be careful when taking over-the-counter medications including herbal medications or vitamins. Always ask your doctor if the medications are kidney-friendly.
Report any problems with your medications, such as side effects, to your doctor’s office immediately. Do not wait until the next appointment. Your healthcare team wants to know if you are having problems.