Ask Away...: Prioritizing Your Health: When To See A Doctor

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Prioritizing Your Health: When To See A Doctor

When was the last time you went for a routine health appointment or had your BMI or blood pressure checked? Are you one of those people who shy away from going to the doctor, even when you feel rotten, or you’ve noticed abnormal symptoms? Many of us feel anxious about seeking medical advice, especially if we’re fearful of bad news, but it’s so important to put your health first. You should never take your health for granted. Often, we get het up about going to the doctor and come out a few minutes later wondering why on earth we were so apprehensive. If you’re not very good at prioritizing your health, here are some scenarios when it’s best to get an expert opinion.

Red flag signs
When you feel unwell, or you develop symptoms, seeing a doctor is usually not a case of life or death. There are many instances when it’s possible to cure illnesses by resting up and taking some pain relief medication. However, there are certain red flag signs that should never be ignored. In the vast majority of cases, these symptoms will be linked to diseases or infections that aren’t life-threatening, but it’s always best to get checked out. Examples of signs to look out for include constant fatigue, unexplained weight loss, bowel changes, blood in the urine or feces, chronic or shooting pains, and abnormal lumps or swelling. If you have any of these symptoms, arrange to see your doctor as soon as possible. When you go to a clinic, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, and they will probably carry out a physical examination and take some urine and blood samples. The results of tests enable doctors to make a diagnosis and identify treatment options. In cases of serious illnesses, the sooner a diagnosis is made, the better.

If you’ve been to a doctor and you’re still getting symptoms, arrange another appointment. If you’re not happy with the care you receive, seek a second opinion. Sometimes, doctors can make mistakes, and while everybody is human, the outcome can be incredibly serious. If you’ve had a diagnosis that was delayed or inaccurate, get help from a medical malpractice lawyer. When you see a doctor, especially if you’ve been multiple times, you expect a certain standard of care, and you have a right to ask questions if you feel like you’ve been let down.

Preventative measures
You’ll often hear medical professionals saying that prevention is better than cure. It’s not possible to prevent every illness, but there are certain things you can do to try and reduce your risk of developing certain diseases or falling foul to infections. If you haven’t had a cervical smear or Pap test in the last 3 years, for example, it’s beneficial to book an appointment. If you’re at risk of the flu, organize a time to have your vaccination. If you’re worried about a family history of heart problems, call and ask about clinics that could prevent complications. It’s also advisable to book a routine check every year. There are no obvious symptoms of issues like high blood pressure, so it’s really useful to have tests on a regular basis.

Mental health
Most of us wouldn’t hesitate to see a doctor if we had an accident and ended up with an ankle joint the size of a tennis ball, but it’s a lot harder for people to open up about mental health. If you’ve been feeling low for a period of time, you struggle to find the motivation to get up every day or you’re constantly battling stress or anxiety, it’s time to see your doctor. Mental health problems affect up to a quarter of Americans, and there’s no shame in admitting that you’re not OK and you could do with some help. There are treatment options out there, and often, even asking for help can make you feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Don’t suffer in silence. There are people out there who are trained to help you.

Be honest. How often do you think about your health? If you’re always busy at work or you’re running around after children or trying to look after elderly relatives, your health may come low down on your list of priorities. If you’re not very good at putting your health first, try and make some positive changes. Seek help if you’re not well and try and take steps to prevent or reduce the risk of health issues. If you notice abnormal symptoms or you’ve been suffering for a while, don’t try and struggle on. There’s no shame in reaching out or asking an expert for advice or support.

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