Created by the Center for Spirituality & Healing and Charlson Meadows.

When Should You Go to the Doctor?

The answer to this question differs according to each situation, of course, according to your unique health history and preferences. 

  • You should begin by understanding your risk factors and taking them into account:  these include your age and any existing conditions, (for example if you have asthma, you need to take any respiratory issue seriously immediately).

 

  • If your provider has told you about warning signs to look for, you need to call that provider right away if you encounter them.

 

  • If you have new symptoms after a procedure, surgery, immunization or injection, or starting a new medicine, you should call right away, even if the symptoms don't seem related (because it could be an early warning of a side effect or complication).

 

General Questions to Ask

Below are some questions to ask yourself  that can help you decide if you should call your provider:

  • Do I sense that something is urgently wrong? 
    Start here. Trust your instincts and see a doctor if you sense that you need immediate medical attention.  Always check out chest pains, loss of consciousness, or new severe physical pain.

 

  • What are my symptoms?  Have I had them before?  If so, how did they get resolved?  Would the same approach work now or is there something different about the symptoms this time?

 

  • How long have the symptoms been going on?   Are they getting better or worse? 
    Generally any symptoms that are not improving after one to two weeks are worth pursuing with a healthcare provider.  Pay attention to symptoms that are getting worse (and consider the first question).

 

  • Can I get more information from a book or reputable website to answer my specific questions?

 

  • What do I really think would be best for my health (ignoring any worries that I will be a bother if I go to the doctor, or that it will cost too much)?

 

 

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