Empower Yourself: Unveiling 8 Essential Questions To Ask Your Doctor That Will Revolutionize Your Treatment Journey

In my work as a naturopathic doctor and as a registered nurse, I encounter many patients that do not understand not only the medications they are on, but also supplements they have been prescribed.

If you want the best care for yourself, and I know you do, you need to have agency over your health and treatment plan. You need to ask questions.

Here are the top 8 questions you need to ask when prescribed any treatment plan:

1. What is the purpose of the proposed treatment?

You need to know WHY you are being recommend something. This can help you to understand your current state of health and how to monitor progress. For example, if we are treating your high cholesterol with a supplement or medication, you need to know the impact that elevated cholesterol has on your health, otherwise why even treat it?

It’s also important to feel that your treatment plan is aligned with your health goals and values. We play a very important role in your health care, providing you with the necessary information required for you to make an informed decision. Afterall, you get to choose how you want to be treated. When patients don’t understand why they are taking something, they are less likely to stick with the plan.

As practitioners we see the bigger picture and what WE would like to see for your health, sometimes causing us to recommend treatments that have a cost to you. If your treatment is not aligned with your health goals than you need to speak with your doctor about this.

2. What are the risks and benefits of treatment?

Most treatments will have some level of risk to them along with benefit, and this is key in helping you decide on a treatment approach. If the benefit outweighs the risk and it is aligned with your goals and values then this may be the treatment for you. But excessively avoiding risk can cause you more harm and reduce your quality of life. For example, because of the results of a large study on hormone replacement therapy for women that reported a risk of breast cancer, many women were pulled off treatment and denied further treatment for their hot flashes and night sweats due to it's misinterpretation. In actual fact the risk for breast cancer for many women was quite small and being prescribed hormone replacement therapy at the appropriate time (before the age of 60) provided significant relief, not only for hot flashes and night sweats, but also bone and cardiovascular protection.

3. How does it work?

It isn’t necessary that you know all the biochemistry and pharmacology of a treatment, but having a basic understanding of how something works to address your concern, or condition can also help you to understand possible side effects and monitoring you may need. For example, it is important for patients who are on a certain type of blood thinner called coumadin, to know that it blocks vitamin K dependent clotting factors. This is why patients on this medication need to maintain a consistent diet of green vegetables or avoid them due to their high vitamin K content.

4. When should I expect results?

This is one of the most important factors in supporting patients to stick with a treatment plan. You need to know a timeline to expect results. Drugs tend to work fast, supplements may take longer, could be months. Are you willing to stay the course? If you don't know when to expect results, you may give up on an effective plan prematurely. There are no quick fixes and there are always costs to treatment.

5. How will I know the treatment is working?

This may be determined by how you feel, changes in blood work, or both. You also need to know the magnitude of benefit. Some treatments may help minimize symptoms to a level you are comfortable with, but knowing that a treatment may or may not completely resolve your symptoms or condition is critical to keeping a realistic perspective on what is possible.

 6. What is the cost of treatment?

Costs could be financial. Supplements may be required long term and can be expensive. If you are not able to stick with it then perhaps a medication covered by a drug plan may be a better option for you to reach your health goals. Taking something multiple times a day may or may not be a burden to you. If it is and that is required to achieve results then this is not the treatment for you.

7. What if it doesn't work?

It is important to know that you have options, and knowing that there is a plan B and C can help you stay positive and motivated about your health situation.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach with medicine. There are treatments that will be gold standard to treat certain symptoms or conditions, but sometimes medicine requires a little trial and error as well.

8. What if I do nothing?

This may be a viable option for you. You need to know the benefits and risks of delaying treatment. In the short term, this may be okay but waiting too long to take action may cause collateral damage in the future that may or may not be reversible. If you want to feel better and improve the state of your health and prevent disease, this is likely not aligned with your goals. You need to have a strategy and understand the tactics to employ. Reach out for support.

Be curious. Ask questions.


Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.


Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

Early Menopause: What You Need To Know Now To Protect Your Future Heart Health

Early menopause occurs before the age of 45, and can be due to a decline in ovarian function or medically induced from a hysterectomy. One of the most significant but less talked about concerns of menopause is the heightened risk of cardiovascular disease women experience. If you have or are experiencing early menopause, this risk starts earlier. While this might feel scary for you, understanding this phase of life, changes you experience and how to protect your cardiovascular system will help allay the fear and help you to feel empowered during this time in your life.

Understandably, women are most concerned with the symptoms of menopause: hot flashes, night sweats, mood and cognitive changes, and weight gain which prompt women to see their health care provider. Unfortunately, the silent changes get ignored resulting in a missed opportunity to educate and empower women to take a proactive approach to their heart health.

After menopause, women experience a significant increase in their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Prior to this stage, women are generally better shielded against cardiovascular disease compared to men, thanks to the protective effects of estrogen. However, with the onset of menopause, the once-advantageous influence of estrogen diminishes, leaving women more vulnerable to cardiovascular health issues.

Estrogen, a hormone that declines during menopause, plays a protective role in cardiovascular health. The decline in estrogen after menopause causes a heightened risk for cardiovascular disease in a number of ways:

  1. Reduced estrogen levels can lead to unfavorable changes in lipid profiles, including increased levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides, and Lp(a), and decreased levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. These changes can contribute to the development of plaque build up in the artery walls and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
  2. Endothelial dysfunction: Estrogen helps maintain the health and function of the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by impaired dilation and increased inflammation, is an early event in the development of atherosclerosis. Decreased estrogen levels can contribute to endothelial dysfunction, thereby increasing the risk of CVD.
  3. Weight gain and abdominal fat: Hormonal changes during menopause can lead to an increase in body fat, particularly around the waistline and organs (called visceral fat). Abdominal fat is strongly associated with a higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders.
  4. Elevated blood pressure: Menopause may cause an increase in blood pressure levels, further straining the cardiovascular system.
  5. Reduced insulin sensitivity: Menopausal hormonal changes can affect insulin sensitivity, potentially leading to insulin resistance and an increased risk of developing diabetes, which is a significant risk factor for heart disease.

Given the increased risk of heart disease associated with menopause, it's important for women who experience early menopause to be proactive about cardiovascular health. This includes adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle and Mediterranean eating pattern, engaging in regular physical activity, not smoking, managing stress, and monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For many women, hormone replacement therapy is an important part a treatment plan and should also be included in the discussion for management of early menopause. Early screening is paramount for women in early menopause to prevent future cardiac events.


Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

5 Changes In Menopause That Impact Your Heart Health

Many women dread the transition to menopause. Hearing the discontented experiences of friends, mothers and other women before them, it is assumed that menopause will be this dreadful rollercoaster ride that could last 5, 8 or up to 12 years! Due to the decline in protective estrogen, heart disease risk begins to climb during this time. Post menopause, women’s risk catches up with that of men’s risk. Because of this, there is a lot of messaging encouraging menopausal women to adopt a heart disease prevention program. But I’m here to tell you not to wait that long.

We do know that the earlier women start a heart disease prevention plan, the better they will fair post menopause in reducing their risk of heart disease. And if you have officially celebrated the end of your menstrual cycle, there is no time like the present to take deliberate action to prevent your risk of a heart attack.

If you’re approaching perimenopause the timing couldn’t be more crucial to take strategic action. Here’s why…

Body Composition

Estrogen causes fat distribution pattern in breasts, buttocks and thighs. The decline in estrogen during menopause causes more weight gain around the middle instead of the hips and buttocks. Central obesity can lead to low grade chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and type II diabetes

Blood Pressure

Estrogen, along with collagen and elastin, help support normal distensibility of blood vessels and protects the delicate lining of arteries called the endothelium. A decrease in estrogen, along with decline in collagen and elastin production can affect blood vessel health, contributing to arterial stiffness, reduced arterial dilation, and high blood pressure.


Estrogen plays a role in upregulating LDL receptors in the liver to take up circulating cholesterol. A proposed mechanism contributing to changes in lipids is the down regulation of LDL receptors in the liver causing less uptake from the blood stream.  Central adiposity associated with menopause may also contribute to the dyslipidemia as well.

Post menopausal women compared to pre-menopausal women tend to experience changes in their lipid profiles including higher total cholesterol, LDL, apolipoprotein B, and a decrease in HDL function. [1]

Sleep Apnea

Menopause is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea. In fact, your risk may even double post menopause. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, poor glucose regulation, disturbances in heart rhythm and overall cardiovascular disease risk.[2]

If you are having ongoing unrefreshing sleep despite 7-9 hours, waking with headaches, snore, having significant daytime fatigues, it is worth a conversation with your doctor about testing. A quick quiz you can do to help determine your potential risk is the SLEEP BANG quiz. Click here to take the quiz.

Vasomotor Symptoms

Women who have more severe vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats) are at a higher risk for coronary heart disease compared to those with less severe symptoms. VMS have been associated with a less favorable cardiovascular risk profile and surrogate CVD endpoints such as higher cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-C, BMI, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and insulin resistance, have been found in women with VMS compared to asymptomatic women.[3]

What can be empowering to know is that even though you may be postmenopausal there are many evidence-based strategies you can implement that can reduce your risk.

So, ladies, what do you say we put prevention—and ourselves—first? Approach menopause with confidence.

If you’re with me, start having a discussion with your health care provider about what strategies you can implement now so you can enjoy the next decades without fear of a heart attack. It’s simpler than you might think. Also know that if you struggle with the symptoms of hormonal changes - night sweats, hot flashes, headaches, cramping, heavy periods, mood changes...there is help for you, you don't need to suffer.


[1] Sharma, J., McAlister, J., Aggarwal, N., et al. Evaluation and management of blood lipids through a woman's life cycle. American Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 10 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpc.2022.100333.

[2] Thompson, C., Legault, J., Moullec, G. et al. A portrait of obstructive sleep apnea risk factors in 27,210 middle-aged and older adults in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Sci Rep 12, 5127 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-08164-6

[3] https://www.imsociety.org/2021/05/12/vasomotor-menopausal-symptoms-and-cardiovascular-disease-risk/


Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.

5 Osteoporosis Myths You Need To Know About

Osteoporosis affects 2.3 million Canadians and is characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue over time. It is known as the “silent thief” because it occurs over decades with no associated symptoms.[1] By the time a fracture occurs, the disease is advanced and the best option is medication to prevent future fracture risk. Unfortunately, while many of my patients fear medication and prefer natural options, the reality is supplements are not as effective as medication to reduce fracture risk.

Osteoporosis reduces quality of life, contributes to reduced or loss of mobility and lack of independence, and in some cases death. 22% of women and 33% of men who suffer a hip fracture will die within the following year. [1]

You have decades to prevent this, are you doing it right?

Who should be screened?

  • Women 65 years and over, and men 70 years and older should be screened for osteoporosis
  • Younger post-menopausal women, women in the menopausal transition, and men aged 50-69 years with clinical risk factors
  • Adults who have a fracture at age 50 years and older
  • Adults with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or organ transplant, or taking a medication (glucocorticoids, aromatase inhibitors, androgen deprivation therapy) that is associated with low bone mass or bone loss. [2]

Many people are falling through the cracks and are not getting timely screening. That is one way I help patients. Diving deep into your history and asking the right questions can help to identify those who are higher risk and need advocacy for appropriate, sometimes early, screening and an effective prevention plan. Many patients are misinformed about the best prevention plan and too many women don’t realize that menopause is their biggest risk for osteoporosis.

Let's crack open some common myths about osteoporosis (pun intended).

Myth #1: Walking is the best exercise for bone health and reducing fractures.

If you are sedentary and currently don’t get much exercise, than brisk walking can definitely help to build bones. But if you are currently active than you need to ensure you are getting in strength training at least 2 times a week. 3 times a week is best. And the best outcomes are achieved with supervised fitness sessions. This is important to make sure you are lifting weights properly to avoid injury and that you are using the right weight to build muscle. Preventing fractures also means preventing falls in the first place. Balance exercises should also be included in your osteoporosis prevention plan on a daily basis.

Myth #2: Supplements can reverse osteoporosis.

Some supplements can help prevent osteoporosis if you are deficient, such as adequate calcium and vitamin D. However, once osteoporosis sets in, the best treatment to reduce fractures according to the best available evidence is medications. The best prevention plan includes a comprehensive approach that includes quitting smoking, limited alcohol, adequate protein, calcium, and vitamin D, the right type of exercise, and identifying risks for falls such as vision and gait problems, low blood pressure, sedating medications, and loose rugs in the home and other tripping hazards.

Myth #3: You don’t have to worry about osteoporosis until menopause.

The biggest risk for women is menopause. Women will lose 10-12% of their bone during the menopausal transition. However, bone loss occurs throughout adulthood at a rate of 1-2% per year.

Myth #4: Only women get osteoporosis.

While women may be at a higher risk for osteoporosis, it still impacts men and many are not screened appropriately.

Myth #5: If you have osteoporosis you can’t build bone.

If you have an evidenced based intervention plan, you can build bone but you need to start now. Bone changes occur very slowly over time but small improvements in bone density can significantly reduce fracture risk.

Here’s a simple, validated tool to assess your risk for osteoporosis using your weight and age, without a bone mineral density test.


Click here to get an estimate of your daily calcium intake.

I want you to live the life you want to. Reach out to find out how we can work together.


[1] Osteoporosis Canada. https://osteoporosis.ca/what-is-osteoporosis/

[2] LeBoff MS, Greenspan SL, Insogna KL, et al. The clinician's guide to prevention and treatment of osteoporosis [published correction appears in Osteoporos Int. 2022 Jul 28. Osteoporos Int. 2022;33(10):2049-2102.

[3] Kanis, J., Cooper, C., Rizzoli, R. et al. European guidance for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int 30, 3–44 (2019).


Disclaimer: The information presented on this site does not constitute medical advice and does not replace the advice from your doctor. Always consult a qualified health care professional when changing or beginning a new health plan.

Click the link below to learn 5 critical ways to reduce your risk of a heart attack in just 5 days. And it's FREE! or book your FREE Discovery Call Now.