Registered Nurses share 5 ways women can be their best self-advocates in their health and wellness

It’s no secret that women are often the primary health advocates in their loved one’s lives, but taking control of your own health is just as important.

In celebration of National Women’s Health Week, we’re shedding light on some of the most significant issues in healthcare that directly affect women, including health conditions to be aware of and what actions you can take to be your best self-advocates in your health and wellness.

We asked our in-house Registered Nurses, Angie and Charlotte, to provide tips below!

According to the CDC, two out of every three caregivers in the United States are women. This means they provide daily or regular support to children, adults, or people with chronic illnesses or disabilities. However, this also means women caregivers “have a greater risk for poor physical and mental health.”

Here is an overview of some of the most prominent health issues that can affect women differently from men:

  • According to the American Thyroid Association, women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems, and one woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
  • According to the Lupus Foundation of America, Lupus is about nine times more common in women than in men.
  • According to the Arthritis Foundation, women are two to three times as likely to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis as men.
  • There are also some conditions or health issues that may present differently in men and women. One example of this is a myocardial infarction (more commonly known as a heart attack). According to the American Heart Association, symptoms that a woman may experience when having a heart attack can differ quite a bit from the symptoms that a man may experience.

While caring for the ones you love most in your life is a great way to ensure the whole family is looking after their health and wellness, taking the necessary steps to advocate for your own health is just as important.

Here are 5 ways you can be your best self-advocate in your health and wellness.

Tip #1: Listen to your body. Charlotte: If something in your body doesn’t feel right, reach out to your healthcare provider to schedule a visit to talk about the symptoms you are having. If the lab results are normal, but you are still not feeling your best, then this is a great time to advocate for yourself. Ask questions, dig deeper, and if you are not on board with the diagnosis or treatment that is suggested for you, it is completely acceptable to reach out for a second opinion. At the end of the day, you know your body best.

Tip #2: Do your own research, but always talk with your healthcare provider Charlotte: The internet is a great place to start researching and learn more about alternative treatment options or get more clarity on a new diagnosis or a procedure, , but it is important to know there is a lot of information on the internet that is not factual. Always talk with your healthcare provider and have an informed discussion with them about what is accurate and relevant to you and your condition.

Tip #3: Be prepared for your appointments with your healthcare providers Angie: My biggest tip for anyone to be proactive in their health is to be prepared for your appointments with your healthcare provider. Make a list ahead of time with any questions or concerns you want to discuss. For example, have you been experiencing any symptoms or health issues that your healthcare provider should know about? Be as open and transparent with them as possible. Also, remember to bring an up-to-date list of any medications or supplements you are taking, including the dose and frequency as well as family history of medical conditions. If you are seeing a new provider, come prepared with any necessary paperwork to give them a detailed look at your past medical history.

Tip #4: Build a support system around you Charlotte: Before the pandemic, it was common practice to bring someone with you to a healthcare appointment for moral support, or so they could ask questions on your behalf. Oftentimes, since that person isn’t directly going through the diagnosis or treatment personally, they may think of great questions to ask that you might not have thought of yourself. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, your provider may not allow you to bring someone with you to your appointment, but it’s still important to have a support system waiting for you when you get home. Having a personal health “confidant”—whether a close friend, spouse, or family member—can be a good way for you to talk about what you are going through.. This person could also help you think of questions to ask before and after your health appointment and be there to support you and your mental health during these times.

Tip #5: Make time to rest Charlotte: Learning about a new diagnosis or treatment option from your healthcare provider can be stressful. Give yourself time to rest and process all of the information you just learned. Sometimes it can be helpful to journal or write things down to sort through your thoughts. Although some health diagnoses may be more pressing and have time constraints to make decisions on, taking the time to rest and reflect is good for your mental health and can clear your mind so that you have the right mindset to make necessary decisions.

After reading these tips from our Registered Nurses, we hope you feel ready to take control of your health and wellness. In addition to advocating for yourself at the doctor’s office, you can also take steps to learn more about your health and wellness from the comfort and convenience of your home. Learn more about our over 30 at-home lab tests, including our Women’s Health Test, Women’s Fertility Test, Ovarian Reserve Test, Sleep & Stress Test, Food Sensitivity Test, and more!

Everlywell makes lab testing easy and convenient with at-home collection and digital results in days. Learn More