A visit to the doctor is the first response most people should make when confronted by an unknown medical issue or one that cannot be resolved with pharmacy medication.
Alternatively, an appointment may also be made for a regular check-up and without any obvious signs of ill-health.
Some people book an appointment with their GP at the first sign of feeling unwell.
Others procrastinate and delay a visit to the a doctor for as long as possible, often at the expense of their own mental and physical health.
Seeing a doctor shouldn’t be an intimidating or overwhelming experience.
Most doctors are extremely personable and empathetic and all are heavily invested in the ongoing health maintenance of their patients.
But to get the most out of your visit, there are some things to be aware of as well as some good practices to follow.
Latrophobia is the fear of a visit to the doctor and is particularly common among young children.
But it can strike people of all ages.
It may manifest in a number of different ways including severe panic attacks, elevated blood pressure and shortness of breath.
It is important to overcome this fear to ensure you don’t put your health at risk.
Once you have made the decision to see a doctor, book an appointment at a time that best suits you and is likely to cause you the least anxiety.
Relaxation techniques including breathing exercises or listening to music may help calm nerves as you pass time in the waiting room.
Choosing a doctor
Many of us have a family doctor that we have been visiting for many years.
But sometimes your doctor may retire, move interstate or overseas.
It could leave you with the unwanted task of finding a new doctor.
You may consider one within the same practice or potentially seek out a new practice.
What is most important is that you feel comfortable with the doctor you choose.
A doctor-patient relationship is like any other relationship – some click instantly while others may lack that rapport or chemistry for whatever reason.
Don’t be afraid to try a new doctor if you don’t feel completely at ease with the one you are seeing.
This may include preferring to see a male or female doctor.
When visiting your doctor, ensure you arrive on time and be aware that delays sometimes occur, particularly later in the day.
Morning appointments give you the best chance of avoiding these.
Remember to bring your Medicare card as well as your health insurance details and concession cards if applicable.
If you are particularly nervous or maybe a little forgetful, it can be a good idea to do a little extra preparation before your visit.
This will help ensure you get the most out of your appointment.
This might include:
- making some notes about your symptoms so you don’t forget any, including how long they lasted and what you were doing when you experienced them
- Consider any relevant personal or family medical history
- Write down the name of any medications you are taking as well as the dosage. This includes over-the-counter meds, vitamins and herbal supplements
- Bring the results or reports of any relevant tests that your doctor may not have
It’s pointless visiting your doctor and not being completely honest with them about your symptoms.
That is why it is so important to have a strong and trusting relationship with your doctor.
Being honest and detailed about the nature and severity of your symptoms, gives your doctor the best chance of identifying your condition and recommending the appropriate course of action to resolve it.
Answer your doctor’s questions to the best of your ability.
Advise your doctor if you are taking any other medications to avoid the risk of them contraindicating with any new ones prescribed.
If your doctor diagnoses a particular condition, ask them to write the name of it down as well as how to best manage it.
And don’t be afraid to ask them questions about your condition. The most important ones should be:
- how important is it I have this test, treatment or procedure?
- are there any risks or side-effects?
- are there any safer, potentially non-invasive courses of action?
- what is the likely outcome if I do nothing?
While we have all been guilty of playing Dr Google, self-diagnosis should never take the place of a visit to a qualified GP.
No web page can accurately diagnose anyone’s unique symptoms.
Doctors are highly educated professionals trained to detect and treat a broad range of medical conditions.
Home diagnoses can easily overlook telltale signs that may either lead to someone ignoring a serious problem or being overly concerned about a very minor issue.
Code of Conduct
While doctors may have different beliefs and values, in Australia, they are all bound by a Code of Conduct.
This demands they have a duty to make the care of their patients their first concern.
They must be ethical and trustworthy and practise medicine safely and effectively.
And they must observe the doctor-patient relationship which protects their patients’ confidential medical details.
They are required to be culturally aware, appreciating that Australia is a diverse country with many different ethnicities.
They also have a duty to constantly update their skills and knowledge to keep abreast of continuing advancements in medicine.
Book an appointment
If you are feeling unwell or are concerned about your health, biting the bullet and making a visit to the doctor should be your priority.
On the vast majority of occasions, people unnecessarily suffer feelings of anxiety about their health.
This stress has the potential to actually make their condition worse or trigger fresh concerns.
A quick visit to the doctor can put your mind at ease.
If you would like company, you can bring a family member or friend for emotional support.
They can also act as an extra pair of ears and even ask the doctor any questions on your behalf, should you forget them.
Whether you have a specific area of concern or would just like a basic check-up, our doctors at AHA Clinics will tend to your concerns and develop a strategy for your ongoing health care.
They will also offer advice on changes to your lifestyle, assess your risk profile and monitor your progress as you age.
Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.