Many people may tend ignore aches, pains and other symptoms or may try to treat them at home without rushing off to the doctor. The fact is that many health issues will indeed clear up on their own over time. For example, you generally do not need to go to the doctor for treatment for the common cold. However, there are times when it may be necessary to go to the doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if you need medical treatment:
Are the Symptoms Worsening?
You may not think about visiting the doctor for a basic headache, a mild cough or other seemingly mild symptoms. However, if you notice that the symptoms are worsening over time, you may consider going to the doctor. This may be a sign that there is an underlying medical condition present or that your body is not able to fight off an infection. Many people wait for their symptoms to go away on their own, and while this has been known to happen, worsening symptoms are almost always a sign that this ailment is not going away on its own.
Are the Symptoms Affecting Your Quality of Life?
If the symptoms are interfering with your ability to perform your daily functions, this may be a sign that you need medical attention. For example, if your stomach pain is interfering with your ability to eat or your headaches are waking you up at night, you should schedule an appointment. Many people try to ignore symptoms, and think that unless they are bed-ridden, it isn’t causing a problem in their lives. Medical professionals conducting a bunion research study in Utah have found that many patients suffer with pain from bunions for as long as a few months before they see a doctor about it. The patients of this Utah bunion study didn’t realize that a quick trip to the doctor could have solved their problems and eliminated pain that was impairing their ability to walk and function properly.
Are New Symptoms Developing?
Some symptoms are not alarming on their own, but they may demand immediate medical attention if they are present in combination with other symptoms. For example, a headache may not be a reason to make an appointment with your physician. However, if your headache is accompany by a high fever and a stiff neck, these are signs that you need immediate medical attention. It may take a while for you to notice a pattern of accompanying symptoms (along with the original problem), but once you do notice them, it could be time to see your doctor.
Do You Have Any Warning Signs?
If you are concerned about the sudden develop of symptoms or worsening of symptoms, it is important to review warning signs. You can gather information online or call your doctor’s office to determine if you have warning signs for a serious condition. For example, a headache in conjunction with dizziness or blurred vision is a warning sign that should not be ignored if it persists. This is why it is best to research your symptoms when you first start having them—getting information from the internet or from a medical professional could help you to know if your symptoms are normal, or if they are warning signs for more serious conditions.
How Long Have the Symptoms Been Present?
A final question to ask involves how long you have been dealing with the symptoms. For example, issues like stomach pain, a cough or a headache may be easy to overlook for a few days, but if even mild symptoms persist for a week or longer, it may be time to schedule an appointment. Many people only experience certain symptoms every once in a while. However, if these symptoms bother you, it may be worth it to see a doctor to find out if there is a way to eliminate the symptoms all together (even if you don’t experience the symptoms frequently.)
If you have been wondering when to see a doctor about your health issues, answering these questions can help. When in doubt, contact your physician’s office for more guidance and clarification. All it takes is a simple phone call to see if a visit to the doctor will improve your symptoms, and in turn, improve your quality of life.