Are you keeping your use of complementary health options from your doctor, for fear of disapproval? While you might believe that your doctor may not wish to discuss complementary or integrative medicine, you shouldn't really make any assumptions. Some doctors are open to complementary care, and may even refer you to a practitioner. But do be prepared for some skepticism, because not all treatments are proven, and some may require you to suspend your conventional treatment, or may even cause harm. Talk to your doctor about the options you are considering. He or she can help you to make an informed decision and can give you information about any risks you may not be aware of.
If you do pursue a complementary health therapy, it is in your best interest to keep your doctor informed about all medicinal products you are taking. According to Health Canada, 71% of Canadians have used "natural health products." (Under this term, Health Canada includes vitamins, minerals, herbal remedies, and homeopathic medicines.) Be aware that natural health products can have side effects too, and many prescription and over-the-counter medications can interact with "natural" health products, and vice versa. Simply because a product is called "natural" does not mean it will be safe. Also, certain people (such as children, seniors, pregnant or breast-feeding women, or people who are chronically ill) may also be more vulnerable than others to adverse reactions.
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