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When Should I Seek Medical Care?

All of us, at various times of our lives, have felt symptoms that made us feel poorly.  Who out there has never experienced a Headache?  Fever?  Abdominal pain? Nausea? Generalized fatigue?  Obviously, we don’t run to the doctor every time we feel something out of the ordinary.  However, there are times when we are at a certain crossroads in our thinking, i.e. should we go in to a doctor’s office for evaluation or try to ride this out on our own?

Here are some suggestions as to when to seek medical care for symptoms you may be experiencing.  By no means is this an exhaustive list, as there are many other instances when seeking care is the best option.

  • Shortness of breath:  If you have a respiratory infection and shortness of breath is an accompanying symptom, you may have pneumonia and/or bronchospasm and prescription medications may be of great help.  If shortness of breath is present but no respiratory symptoms, dangerous diseases such as a pulmonary embolus or a heart issue may be occurring and prompt treatment can be life saving.
  • Chest pains:  Yes, there are causes of chest pains other than heart attacks, angina, pulmonary emboli and other life-threatening conditions, but the occurrence of chest pains should be evaluated ASAP.
  • Very high fever:  Certain benign viruses can produce high fevers but so can treatable diseases such as Covid and bacterial infections. Going in for evaluation is more important for people at risk such as those over 60 years of age, people with underlying diseases such as diabetes, cancer, kidney problems etc
  • Headaches that are severe and have not been present previously: Aneurysms, tumors and infections of the brain can produce severe headaches.
  • Joint/musculoskeletal pains that occur for more than a few days after a fall or other trauma
  • Palpitations of the heart, especially when symptoms such as dizziness are present
  • Mood disorders that are negatively impacting your life:  The “stigma” of mental illness is something that often stops people from going in for help.
  • Abdominal pains that are more than a fleeting pain that resolves with an antacid
  • Change in color of your urine or stool:  This could be caused by infection, liver and/or kidney disease
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss:  Metabolic diseases such as thyroid dysfunction or cancers may cause weight changes that are unexplained.
  • Fatigue/tiredness that seems out of proportion to what is the “norm” for age, stress and other factors.

 

Once again, there are many, many more scenarios that are best approached via a visit to your primary care doctor.   Try to NOT be one of those people that attempt to “brave it out” and treat yourself with OTC products.  Be smart about your own health care.

Here is a “doctor”…Dr. Hook….enjoy this 1979 tune.

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