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Healthy You

6 signs it’s time to see your doctor

Wednesday, February 14, 2024 4:34 PM
Tags: wellness

By Endeavor Health

Say you’ve been feeling well, all things considered, and a visit to the doctor is the furthest from your mind.

Then you have some strange new symptoms.

Some things will pass with time. And some you should really ask your doctor about.

Woman speaking with doctor

“Don’t hesitate to bring things up with your doctor, even if you think it’s not a big deal,” said Joel John, DO, a family medicine physician with Endeavor Health Medical Group. “Issues that seem insignificant could be a symptom of something we can address and improve your health.”

Here are some signs it’s time to schedule a visit with your doctor:

  1. Shortness of breath. Feeling like you can’t catch your breath can be disconcerting. There are situations that cause shortness of breath in healthy people, such as high altitude, a strenuous workout, air pollution, even extreme temperatures. If it happens when you’re not doing something where you’d expect to be out of breath, like cardiovascular exercise, or if it doesn’t make sense based on your current fitness level, you should see a doctor. If you feel chest pain or pressure, nausea or weakness along with shortness of breath, go to an emergency room.

  2. You feel depressed. Sadness is a normal emotion people feel in the course of everyday life. It makes sense to be sad sometimes. When that sadness persists for weeks or months, however, you should talk to your doctor about it. Depression can make you feel anxious, restless, tired and empty, and no one is immune. Sometimes people become depressed for no obvious reason. Sometimes it’s triggered by the loss of a loved one or unexpected unemployment. People who are depressed often lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, feel hopeless or empty, and sleep more or less than they used to.

  3. Unintentional weight loss. When everyone is seemingly trying to lose weight, dropping pounds with no effort sounds like a gift. Spoiler alert: It’s not. When someone loses weight without changing their diet or exercise regimen, it can be a sign of an underlying health problem. It could have a range of causes, from depression to diarrhea. Check in with your doctor if you notice unexplained weight loss.

  4. You notice changes in the bathroom. Changes in urination and bowel movements that continue for two weeks or more can signal a health problem that your doctor should know about. If you see blood after urinating or in your stool, have abdominal pain while going, or notice stool that is consistently pencil-thin or watery and loose, see a doctor.

  5. Unusually bad headaches. Headaches are one of the most annoying ailments. They can ruin your day if you don’t have any over-the-counter pain medication. There are some headaches that are more than just a bothersome one-off, however, and these are the headaches you should tell your doctor about. If a headache strikes suddenly and feels like the worst one you’ve ever had, if a headache comes with pain in your eye or ear, a fever, convulsions or is incapacitating, seek medical care.

  6. You can’t sleep. Everyone struggles to sleep sometimes. But when a good night’s sleep eludes you for more than three weeks straight, you should talk to your doctor. Insomnia is caused by a number of things, from an unhelpful nighttime routine to pain or medication to perimenopause, and your doctor can help you get to the root cause. It’s also a good idea to check in with your doctor if you can get to sleep but wake up feeling tired, wake up frequently throughout the night or feel sleepy during the day. Yes, sleep is that important to your health.

You know yourself best. If anything feels off, or if you notice other changes in your body or health that persist, let your doctor know.

Need a doctor? Find the right one for you at Endeavor Health.

NorthShore University HealthSystem, Swedish Hospital, Northwest Community Healthcare and Edward-Elmhurst Health are now united under one name, Endeavor Health. We’re setting a new standard for healthcare that’s focused on you, because your best health is our endeavor. Learn more.