Tips and tools for a healthier life…

    By Alice Lamont, Christine Carley, Tania Delahoy and Jennifer Cook.

    To celebrate doctor’s day (30th of march), we would like to share our top tips for getting the most out of your GP consultations.

    1 Have one regular GP

    Having an ongoing relationship with a General Practitioner is one of the single most powerful things we can do for our health. When we switch between GP’s regularly, or only see them for short acute consults, the doctor misses out on vital long-term information that can be pivotal for your health. Building a relationship with a GP allows them to understand and respond to how your health changes over time. It is important to find a doctor who you connect with and see them semi-regularly.

    Tip: Find a GP through a recommendation by a trusted friend or health care professional.

    2 Share your medical history

    The more information your GP has about your personal and family medical history, the better positioned they are to take care of you. Sharing information about disease your family has had and serious illness you have experienced in the past provides your GP with critical information to test, prevent and/or treat disease. Remember that many chronic or fatal illnesses can be identified early and successfully treated, however your GP likely won’t test you for them unless there is reason to. So, if someone in your family has suffered a heart attack, or depression ‘runs in the family’ – let your doctor know!

    Tip: Talk to your family about their medical history and write it all down, then give it to your doctor to add to your file.

    3 Have realistic expectations

    Our GP’s do the best they can with the time they have with you and information they have on hand. Your GP won’t be able to cover all your questions thoroughly in one appointment, so it is best to bring them up as they arise. Prioritise your concerns for each consult and see your GP semi-regularly, to ensure all your concerns get met.

    Tip: If you have a lot to talk about with your doctor, make an extended appointment if possible. Ask the clinic’s reception how long standard consultation times are and express your desire for a longer one – make a list of things you want to talk about in your consult, tick them off and take notes.

    4 Be honest

    Withholding information about symptoms or lifestyle factors from your GP only compromises the care you can receive. Your doctor has seen and heard it all before, and it is their role to help you, there will be no judgement. Finding a doctor that you feel safe with can be an important factor in enabling us to be open about our health. It is also important to explain your symptoms and when they first arose, clearly to your GP. They need justification to order testing or prescribe medication, and if they can see clearly that you need either, they are far more likely to provide them, support you and be able to help.

    5 Keep records

    Ask for copies of all your test and pathology results. This can be very helpful when switching GP’s or going to see a specialist, and in empowering ourselves to understand and keep track of our own health. Manage your schedule when booking appointments and know when you are due for a check-up.

    Tip: Put your appointments in the calendar on your phone with a reminder notification and colour code all health related appointments for easy viewing, and ask your GP when you should make your next appointment.

    6 Knowledge is power

    We are all about preventative health care at Western Health Collective. We want you to be proactive about optimising your health and we are here to provide support and direction.

    Tip: Find a team of professionals to support all aspects of your health; nutritional, physical, mental and emotional. Get recommendations for these practitioners from other trusted health professionals.

    Pathology to request yearly (if well) and 6 monthly (if have a confirmed or suspected underlying condition):

    • Full Blood Examination (FBE)
    • Vitamin B12 and D
    • Iron/Ferritin
    • Thyroid for women, and hormones for everyone
    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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