Don’t Neglect Your Health: Medical Symptoms that you Should Not Ignore
If you think it is taking much longer to get an appointment with your GP than it used to you are not wrong. Recent research shows that in 2017 patients had to wait around ten days longer to see a doctor than it did only two years earlier. This has prompted an epidemic of people who either put up with their problems or simply ignore them, hoping they will soon disappear, simply because they are one of over one million patients unable to get doctors appointment each week in the UK.
Although most patients will be able to treat their ailment with alternative approaches or self-care, with many talking to their local pharmacist, there will also be a larger number of serious conditions that will be missed due to early symptoms not being diagnosed – these could even lead to medical negligence claims. A surprisingly high number of serious conditions and illnesses start to show through fairly mundane symptoms that could very easily be mistaken for another less serious ailment, and if they are not seen by a medical professional they could have terrible consequences. We have put together a list of some of the symptoms that may appear harmless but should really be seen be a medical professional as well as what you should do if you find you have been misdiagnosed.
Changes in the appearance of moles or freckles
The majority of people can have anything between thirty to four hundred moles on their body, with most of them being perfectly healthy and not presenting any threats to their health. However, freckles, moles and other skin pigmentations can be a sign of ill health or skin cancer. While new moles or other marks on the skin can be pretty harmless you should still seek medical attention, particularly if they are jagged around the edges, larger than 6mm, appear to have an irregular shape, have a varied colour, are itchy or painful of if their appearance changes.
Thirst is an underrated way of keeping us healthy, as it is a sign that we are becoming dehydrated. It is recommended that you should drink around 1.2 litres of water a day, which should keep you adequately hydrated and keep health issues at bay. However if you have a constant thirst and continuous drinking does not seem to quench it you could have a more serious condition. If you find you also have nausea, dizziness, blurred vision or fatigue you could have low blood pressure, anaemia or even diabetes. If your thirst is not caused by exercise, hot climates or salty food and you have one or more of the above symptoms, you should contact a doctor.
Unexplained weight loss
Many people are actively trying to get fit and lose weight and will have changed their diet and increased their exercise to do so, but if you should suffer sudden weight loss without any effort or other external factors you need to make an appointment to see your doctor. If you were to lose just 5% or more of your body mass within six to twelve months you must seek medical attention. Weight loss – and gain – can be caused by a number of reasons including exercise and calorie intake, however sudden weight loss could be a symptom of dementia, cancer, depression, hyperthyroidism, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease.
One of the most common ailments for adults, headaches can be brought on by a large array of triggers, including certain foods, dehydration, eye strain, stress or hormones. There is usually nothing to be concerned about and the best thing to do is take some pain relief and rest, however in some cases there may be a more serious explanation. If you are feeling feverish, are vomiting or nauseous, have had a head injury, your headache is more severe than normal or you have had more than three headaches in a week that painkillers cannot shift, you should speak to your doctor. You should also contact your GP if there are any neurological indicators including dizziness, twitching, numbness, stiffness throughout your body, a sensitivity to light or noise, or numbness.
Feeling short of breath
Shortness of breath can be induced by a number of reasons such as after strenuous exercise, during pregnancy, in high-altitude locations or after sex, however it could also be a sign that there may be an underlying medical condition. If you experience shortness of breath when you are not being overly active, or if you also have wheezing, sweating, fatigue or pain in other areas of your body you should get medical attention immediately.
The risk of medical misdiagnosis
Residents of the UK are fortunate enough to have access to one of the world’s most envied health services however medical misdiagnosis can still occur. There are an estimated 24,500 NHS patients misdiagnosed annually and while many of these misdiagnoses are only minor conditions, there are also many that are serious long-term issues. If you have received medical attention for a health issue but feel you are unsatisfied with your diagnosis you can ask for a second opinion, whether that is within your doctor’s practice or at a hospital.
However, if you still feel that you were treated unfairly or misdiagnosed by your doctor and that your illness has had a major impact on your life, or if you have suffered an illness or injury relating to the misdiagnosis you should arrange to speak to a specialised legal professional, such as MedicalNegligenceAssist.co.uk who will be able to look at your case and give you an insight as to whether there is any fault and, if so, who that fault lies with. If it is believed that there is a claim to be made your legal expert will be able to help you file a claim for compensation for medical negligence which will enable you to reach a settlement that could help you pay for any necessary treatment, care or costs that you need to help deal with the illness or injury that was a result of your misdiagnosis.