Today people are busier than ever and it is often hard to find time to see your doctor. It is common to wait until you are severely ill in our culture and then make an appointment with your physician. Often the patients that come to the doctor didn’t go soon enough, or are the anxious hypochondriac personality. So, when should you go see your doctor?
This question inherently asks, “Why should you go to the doctor?” One of the main reasons why patients go to their doctor today is fatigue. They feel horrible and lack energy to work hard and play hard. If you feel like you cannot function in all areas of your life at the same level as you did 1 month ago or 12 months ago it is time to take action.
What I recommend everyone that asks me, “What should I do? I have this problem and should I go see the doctor yet?” I always answer, “In Medicine, it is better to deal with the problem sooner than later.” We can do so much more when we catch disease processes earlier than wait for them to become serious illnesses that are hard to treat or nearly impossible to cure, such as late stage Cancers or Cardiovascular diseases. Also, more servere the condition the more time and financial resources you will need to invest in treatment. Thus, you save time and money by acting now.
The first step deciding when to go to the doctor is listening to your body. Obviously, if you are having acute chest pain, urinating blood, having kidney pain, or other emergent signs then please go to your local Emergency Room or call 911. This article is about more chronic health care. So it is important to pay attention to your body as we pay attention to the weather, check in on a daily basis at a minimum.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if you need to see your physician:
- Do you feel fatigued (tired without coffee)?
- How is your sleep?
- Do you wake rested in the morning?
- Are you catching frequent colds (more than 1 per year)?
- Are you in acute or chronic pain?
- Is your sex life dissatisfying or non-existent (healthy sex life is engaging in sex at least 1 time per week)?
- Having sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction in men, can be a serious red flag for Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease.
- Do you have a strong family medical history for Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, or Cancer?
- Do you suffer from anxiety or depression?
- Are you over or under weight?
- Do you suffer from allergies?
- Do you have chronic migraines or debilitating headaches that keep you from enjoying life
- Do you have a rash that won’t go away?
- Is a current health condition being managed effectively (If you are searching for a more direct approach where your doctor treats the cause the answer is probably, no)?
- Do you have questions about nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle related concerns for your constitution or particular lifestyle or illness?
- Have your friends and family notice any changes in you that may not notice?
These are questions to consider if you shy away from seeing your doctor on a regular basis. It is important to get an annual check-up to prevent diseases and to get screened for conditions such as Autoimmune diseases, Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, High blood pressure, High Cholesterol, Heart Disease, Cancers, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and any screening based upon your family medical history risk level.
Not only is it important to see your doctor to get yourself cleared of HIV, Cancer, and Heart disease, it is important to establish a strong doctor-patient relationship based on trust and mutual respect. The doctor-patient relationship is a healing balm itself for patients. Once you establish this bond your doctor will celebrate your accomplishments with you and be there to listen when you are suffering as well. Unlike going to get your car fixed, taking care of yourself involves a relationship with another human. And in this relationship you will share many intimate aspects of your health and life. So it is important to work with a physician you trust, respect, and believe will help you.
After your fist couple visits and your initial group of laboratory tests your physician should tell you when to come back to the office. If they say come back in one year, do NOT wait one year to go back to your doctor if you have a health concern or even a health question in this time period. Especially, in the world of Naturopathic and functional medicine, it is essential to check-in on a regular basis.
I liken the need for establishing a healthy lifestyle and correcting diagnosed health problems to a quote I found, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now”. – Chinese Proverb
Act now for a healthier you, contact Dr. Madeira at Apollo Health Clinic for your initial consult, and remember we can work with your schedule and also offer follow-up phone consults to fit your health and wellness into your busy schedule.