When should I seek medical help?

I believe it is always a good idea to seek professional guidance before trying to fix the problem yourself. Keeping that in mind here are some rules you should stick by. You should seek medical help if the pain:

  1. Is constant.

If pain is constant and persists long term, this can indicate an over sensitisation of nerve endings or even something more sinister. It is a good idea to get this checked out by a professional just to rule the dangerous stuff out and to get yourself pain free.

2. Wakes you in the night.

If you wake in the night due to pain or excessive sweating this can indicate a serious issue and you should seek medical help.

3. If you lose muscle function.

Losing muscle function can be due to failure of nerve function, severe injury and drug overdose. All instances should be treated as a medical emergency and you should go straight to A&E.

4. If you experience a shortness of breath.

When you are at a high altitude, exercising or in extreme heat being short of breath is normal. If your shortness of breath is not caused by any of these perhaps you are experiencing asthma, bronchitis or another condition. In this case, see your GP.

5. If you have lost or gained weight rapidly without changing your habits.

Sudden weight loss could be caused by but not limited to any of the following: overactive thyroid, diabetes, depression, liver disease, cancer, gastroenteritis and viral infections. As a general rule, if you have lost more than 10% of your body weight without trying to in the last 6 months you should see your doctor.

6. Your bowel or bladder function has changed.

Everyone’s pattern is slightly different and there isn’t a perfect pattern to look for, that being said if you notice a sudden change in the consistency colour (especially black/bloody) and/or how frequent you need to go, you should see your doctor.

7. You have a constant fever and fever symptoms.

If your temperature is above 39.4 degrees Celsius you should visit your GP. Also if a fever lasts longer than 3 days, you could have a serious infection. The elderly, pregnant mothers and people with heart diseases should take extra care.

8. If you have a cold which is unusually bad.

Colds are not always serious, but if it will not pass or it gets worse you should see your GP. This includes coughing, sinus congestion, muscle aches, fevers, difficulty swallowing, chest pain and shortness of breath. If you are struggling to eat you may need an IV-drip.

9. You are experiencing severe pain in the chest, abdominals or pelvis.

Severe, abnormal intense pain that is relentless is not normal and you should see your GP. Pain in these areas can indicate heart attacks, gallstone, kidney dysfunction and other visceral problems (organ dysfunctions).

10. You are experiencing bright flashing which effect your vision.

Bright spots (auras/halos) in your vision are not always serious and can be due to migraines. However, if you haven’t experienced this or it is different to a usual migraine aura, go see your doctor as it could be a retail detachment which is very serious.

11. You are experiencing confusion or changes in mood.

Changes in mood can indicate mental health issues which can be caused by infections or from the use of drugs. Trouble sleeping, focusing and feelings of depression and anxiety are all things to watch out for.

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