Suffer from back pain, other aches and pains, or another chronic condition? You’re not alone — almost 70% of Americans say that back pain affects how they go about their everyday lives and two-thirds of Baby Boomers are predicted to be managing a chronic condition by 2030. Worryingly enough though, many Americans don’t go see a doctor regularly — around 40% of those with long-term lower back pain don’t go see a doctor for it. They simply struggle on with pain meds and a “grit-and-bear-it” attitude, which could be detrimental to their health later on down the line. Having an “ask the doctors” mentality is really far healthier and can often catch any serious illnesses earlier in their progress. At any rate, knowing where your nearest walk in clinic or urgent care center is good information to have on hand.
But I’m Perfectly Healthy, Why Do I Need to See the Doctor?
Even if you appear healthy, you should go in for in annual check ups, just to make sure that everything is on an even keel. Having high blood pressure or high cholesterol may not affect you physically now, but it could still take a toll on your health later, in the form of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United State for males and females alike. One in four deaths is a result of heart disease and almost 600,000 people pass away from heart disease each year. If you’re concerned about how to best protect yourself against heart disease, ask the doctors who are seeing you what steps you can take.
The doctor’s office is also a place to ask the doctors any questions you might have about your health or medications you might currently be on. For example, if you suffer from dizziness (the second most common complaint that doctor’s offices hear), this could be a good time to bring it up and ask what might be causing it and how you can fix it. Around 65% of seniors (those 65 or older) experience dizziness or have a loss of balance, often every day. This can lead to falls, which can lead to broken bones, and those can severely impact one’s health and quality of life. If your doctors can find a solution for that dizziness or loss of balance, you can avoid those issues.
What Happens If I Have an Emergency?
Depending on what kind of emergency it is, you have two options. You can either go to urgent care or go to the emergency room. The emergency room should be saved for life-threatening emergencies — inability to breathe, going unconscious, heavy bleeding, broken bones, or a heart attack or stroke. Urgent care is a great place to go if you have a bad cold or flu, minor lacerations or burns, a rash, or anything that requires immediate medical attention but isn’t life-threatening. For example, four out of five urgent care centers can help treat you for a fracture and the wait time is certain to be significantly less there than at an emergency room — and the cost will also be significantly reduced!
How Do I Find a Doctor I Can Trust?
Finding a good doctor or set of doctors whom you trust is a process, just like building relationships anywhere else. You want a level of comfort in which you can ask the doctors often very personal questions without feeling embarrassed. You may try out a few doctors at first and settle on one that you click with. A shortcut to finding a good doctor can often be talking to your family and friends and seeing if they have an suggestions for healthcare professionals to get in touch with. If family or friends who have similar comfort levels or outlooks on their health have a doctor they like and trust, that’s a good indicator that you might also click with that doctor.
Your health is important — don’t treat it as an afterthought! Make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to stay healthy, happy, and with the best quality of life possible.