Would it be a good idea to visit the doctor? Many people ask themselves this question at some point in their lives. Even though you may tell yourself that you should not see a doctor unless you have any major symptoms or a major incident, this isn’t always the case.
If you are suffering from any medical condition, even if it is just coughing, it is important to remember that early detection can often lead to better outcomes in the long run. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States of America, coughing was the leading cause of illness-related doctor’s visits in 2012.
We have compiled a list of eleven signs indicating that it is time to visit the doctor. The list below is by no means exhaustive, and if you feel something is amiss, it would be wise to seek medical attention immediately.
- You Suspect Asbestos Exposure
While this is not a symptom, it is certainly a situation where you must visit your doctor the first chance you get. It may take years for symptoms to emerge for some people, so they may not even know they have the disease.
Asbestos exposure, however, is easy to detect. Many occupations, such as electricians, carpenters, painters, and cement workers, are at risk of asbestos exposure. So if you work in any of these professions, maintain the habit of a routine checkup.
Asbestos can poison lungs, causing fatal or lifelong diseases like mesothelioma or asbestosis. Different types of mesothelioma affect different organs in the body. For example, malignant pleural mesothelioma affects the throat and makes swallowing and breathing difficult, reducing the ability to eat and enjoy food. Similarly, peritoneal or abdominal mesothelioma can contribute to nausea, inflammation, and abdominal pain. Wheezing, persistent cough, and shortness of breath are the common symptoms of asbestosis.
So if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and work in high-risk occupations, visit your doctor right away.
- You have a persistent, high fever
Fever is your body’s natural defense mechanism against infection. Nevertheless, if you develop a fever that exceeds 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degrees Celsius) or if it persists for longer than three days, you should call your doctor. This could indicate the presence of a more serious infection.
- You’ve lost weight suddenly and without explanation
A sudden drop in weight may be caused by a number of factors, such as an overactive thyroid gland, diabetes, depression, or liver disease, among others. If you have lost more than 10% (unexplained) of your body weight in the last six months (and you do not have obesity), you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
- Your cold becomes unusually bad
It can be difficult to know when to seek medical attention for a cold; if yours persists or worsens, consider consulting your doctor. You must also be aware of the following:
- In the absence of treatment, a prolonged cough could indicate a coughing illness, while long-term congestion may indicate sinusitis.
- Symptoms such as fever or muscle aches may indicate influenza. If you’re experiencing any flu-like symptoms, talk to your doctor about Tamiflu. Flu complications are more likely to occur in seniors, pregnant women, and people with heart disease.
- Symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, chest pain, and shortness of breath may indicate a more serious condition.
- Getting fluids through an IV may be necessary if you have trouble keeping anything down.
- You’re short of breath
Shortness of breath can be attributed to a number of factors, including high altitudes, strenuous exercise, obesity, and extreme temperatures. But if you have breathlessness in the absence of these issues, contact a physician to check for asthma, bronchitis, and other conditions, especially if the symptoms are sudden and severe.
- You experience pain in your chest, abdomen, or pelvis
Abnormally intense and prolonged discomfort in the chest, pelvis, or abdominal pain, or a combination of these symptoms, may indicate the presence of an underlying issue that requires medical attention. There are several examples of what can happen when the pain is in the chest, such as heart attack when it is in the chest, kidney infection or appendicitis when it is in the pelvis, and gallstones when it is in the abdomen (more so if accompanied by sickness, vomiting, or nausea).
- You notice a change in your bowel movements or urination
It’s important to remember that bowel movements and urination differ from individual to individual, so you should look for changes in your own pattern, such as bloody or black stools, diarrhea, or excessive urination. It is always advisable to consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
- Bright flashes interrupt your vision
There may be times when bright flashes or spots obscure your vision if you suffer from migraines. As a preventative measure to prevent permanent sight loss, sudden bright flashes might also be a sign of a retinal detachment. This is a serious condition that needs to be treated immediately if you want to prevent permanent vision loss.
- You Experience Confusion or Changes in Mood
An infection or drug interaction can cause mood changes, sudden confusion, and mental health issues. If you notice that you have trouble concentrating or thinking, irregular sleeping patterns or feelings of anxiety or depression, you should seek medical attention.
- You Suspect You Have a Concussion
Watch out for the symptoms of a concussion if you have fallen on your head or suffered a blow to the head. When any of these symptoms develop, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. These symptoms can include difficulty concentrating, headaches, irritability, and changes in sleep patterns.
- Unexpected symptoms after undergoing surgery or taking a new medication
Before undergoing a medical procedure or surgery, getting an immunization, or starting a new medication, speak with your doctor about known symptoms. You should monitor for specific signs and if you notice anything that doesn’t seem right, call the doctor’s office to see if an appointment needs to be made.
How do you know when a cough is just a cough or when a headache is something to be concerned about? Symptoms and signs may indicate that you have a serious health condition, and if you experience any of these symptoms (or situations) described above, you may want to see your doctor immediately.
Symptoms present in one part of the body may indicate a problem in another part of the body. Moreover, even seemingly minor symptoms may indicate the presence of a more serious medical condition or disease that might otherwise go undetected. You should pay attention to your body, note all symptoms, and discuss them with your doctor in detail as soon as possible.