The average patient only see his/her doctor once a year, or at the very best, once every six months – and then only because they are ill. The question remains: How often do you really need to visit your doctor, even when you don’t feel sick?
Some patients who have been diagnosed with illnesses such as sleep apnea, high cholesterol, hypertension, coronary disease and diabetes, may feel that they are well enough to not return to their doctors. When you have a chronic medical illness but experience no aggressive changes in your symptoms, a follow-up appointment is greatly decided upon by your doctor at the end of an appointment. But how does your doctor know when you should be examined again? Under the circumstances most patients do not think about this and just adhere to the recommendation of their doctors.
Patients who have been diagnosed with a chronic illness such as heart disease, may go through periods whereby they have no symptoms at all, or none that they can identify. Again using the example of heart disease, patients may claim to be feeling absolutely fantastic. If you have been diagnosed and have a follow-up appointment, your doctor may ask you questions such as: Do you experience occasional swelling of your legs? Chest pains? A shortness of breath? The reason for this is simple: Doctors have to ask you questions relating to symptoms of an illness that a patient cannot always feel. Although you may feel as healthy as a horse, it is the underlying factors that may be a potential threat to your health and wellbeing.
How your Doctor can help you to stay healthy
Your doctor can aid you in staying healthy by means of initial prevention, necessary screening and subsequent treatment. Patients who only see their doctors when they are ill, often forego the opportunity to nip potential health problems in the bud. Most illnesses can be treated effectively when it is detected in its early stages.
Your doctor will most likely ask you about your family’s medical history, as specific types of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes can be hereditary. Providing your doctor with information about your closest family members’ health problems, could tell whether it is necessary for your doctor to be act more watchful with you in the prevention of certain ailments, by suggesting a change in lifestyle or the prescription of preventative medications.
Reasons why people neglect to visit their doctors
It is a sad fact that many people will ignore certain symptoms such as blood in their urine or lumps found in body parts, because they are scared of visiting their doctors. In almost all of these cases, the same excuses are used time and time again.
“I’m healthy, I do not need a checkup” : You are not in position to state you are in good health. Approximately one-third of victims to heart attacks had no prior warning and no physical symptoms. You do not have to fear an examination. Before you find yourself in the middle of a medical crisis, find a doctor that you feel comfortable with and who’s opinion you respect. Based on your family’s medical history, you and your doctor can then decide on how often you need to receive a physical examination.
“I feel too awkward” : Most people think that a physical examination is too intrusive and that they will feel humiliated in some way. The fact is, a physical examination could potentially save your life.
“It will go away” : Most people may suspect that they have an underlying illness. In the case of STDs, many would rather ignore the fact that they may have contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Without the proper treatment, an STD can result in far more serious medical conditions and could lead to fatality in severe cases.
Create a Balance
Although there is no guideline as to how often you have to visit your doctor, always go with your gut instinct and apply common sense. If you work with your doctor, it is a sure guarantee that the two of you will be able to create a balance that is to your benefit.
To book an appointment today with a GP please call Broadgate GP on 020 7638 4330 – Same day appointments available.