Signs You Need Medical Help
For the most part, humans aren’t great at admitting there might be something wrong. We are loathed to seek out help for fear of inconveniencing someone, or being seen to “make a fuss about nothing.” Logically, we know that we could be endangering our health by not getting checked out by the doctor, but it can be quite difficult to reconcile those feelings.
And some people are just straight up scared of seeking medical help, however, much discomfort they’re in. The existence of online symptom checking websites probably doesn’t help – they don’t exactly enable us to make sound assessments of our symptoms. The risk is that it offers reassurances that something like chest pain is caused by acid reflux, not the cardiac arrest they’re actually experiencing, so that person fails to seek medical help as quickly as they ought.
While it’s understandable that seeking medical help isn’t high up the list of your favorite things to do, it’s crucial that you know when it’s time to suck it up and visit the doc, and also when to implore others to do the same. So when it comes to your health, when is it time to call on the professionals?
When your discomfort makes it difficult to sleep
If you’re unwell or you’ve suffered an injury, the first port of call is usually over the counter painkillers or anti-inflammatories. This is a reasonable place to start, after all, we wouldn’t visit the doctor for treatment for a common cold. If, however, your discomfort stops you from being able to sleep, even when you’ve taken over the counter pain meds, it’s probably time to call your doc. Your body needs sleep to be able to overcome injury or pain, and so when you’re unable to sleep, you’re lengthening the recovery period. Even if your doctor can’t fix you, they can give you a prescription for something slightly stronger to take the edge off, and hopefully you’ll be able to catch forty winks.
When your mood swings are affecting your relationships
Talking about mental health can be really tricky, even with our doctors and therapists. While there is so much good work being done by campaigners to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health, there’s still some way to go. That being said, the truth of the matter is that if you ever feel like life is getting too much, and your unhappiness or erratic mood swings are starting to impact on your relationships, employment, or ability to get through the day, it’s important to seek out medical help.
Yes, you may be able to lift yourself out of your funk all by yourself, but the problem with mental health conditions is that it can be quite difficult to be completely self-reflective, so there could be something crucial that you’re missing that may be putting your safety at risk. Some mental health, such as bipolar, bipolar type 2, and schizophrenia may require treatment. So if your mood is affecting your relationships and everyday life, pay a visit to talk it through and make sure you’re getting the support you need to stay safe.
When there are any changes in your body that you can’t explain
Sometimes something seemingly really innocuous can happen like a mole changes shape, or you sometimes go lightheaded for no apparent reason. It can be easy to ignore these things because they cause little to no discomfort, and if you don’t feel ill then it’s probably nothing, right? Wrong! Some severe medical conditions can come with really minor symptoms but actually require urgent treatment. It is far better to be safe than sorry, so if you’ve got any little changes to your body that aren’t easily explained, a quick doctor’s appointment should be able to put your mind at ease.
Experiencing pain for extended periods of time
Any sort of discomfort, even something that is dampened by over the counter pain medication, should not last more than a few days, especially if there is no real explanation for it. If you’ve been experiencing pain for a few days, it’s worth seeing the doctor for a diagnosis, as it may not be able to heal on its own and may require treatment.
This includes issues like strep throat, where the pain has lasted for a couple of days without subsiding, and there is evidence of pus on the tonsils. Similarly with any musculoskeletal pain, earache, back-ache, or urinary tract infections. Sometimes antibiotics might be required to kill off the bacteria, or further exploratory work might be required to find a cause.
While it’s rare, don’t be tempted to ignore musculoskeletal pain for long periods of time, as it could be the symptom of a more sinister problem which might need more thorough treatment. It is a good rule of thumb, even if you’re not particularly concerned by a condition, to see a doctor if a problem lasts more than four days. Again, it’s far better to be safe than sorry.
If it’s anything severe
If your symptoms are extremely painful, severe, or concerning such as chest pain, trouble breathing, head trauma, or problems with staying conscious, call 911 immediately. Don’t just write it off as nothing or wait for it to worsen, as it could be the difference between life and death. It’s far better that you waste the time of a paramedic and a doctor and wind up safe and healthy than avoid calling for help and end up in dire straits.
We need to rid ourselves of the notion that we are wasting the time of medical practitioners by contacting them when we’re not on the verge of death. They exist and are paid to ensure that we are safe, healthy, and well. And they would far sooner reassure someone that they’re healthy than have to give medical help to someone who’s left it far too long to seek treatment. If anything is concerning you, either physically or with regards your mental health, reach out to your doctor for reassurance – it’s why they exist.