Lazy Man on a CouchSome people say that ignorance is bliss. Indeed, there may be some problems that will go away if you just ignore them, like a dirty window, which will eventually get washed by the rain.

It is true that many small issues are not worth thinking about and worrying over them only wastes your time without reaching a solution. Health problems, however, are a different matter and there can be a high risk in ignoring chronic and persistent medical concerns.

Knowing When to See a Doctor

Maybe it is an uncontrollable cough that wracks your body and annoys those around you. Perhaps it is an aching pain that limits your activities and keeps you up at night. Whatever the issue, you know that it is persistent and shows no signs of going away any time soon. Chronic medical concerns are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

There are some problems that will have you immediately running to your doctor, such as sudden loss of mobility or when any of your five senses are malfunctioning. However, many health concerns don’t seem that serious or do not affect us in a major way at first, which may lead you to delay a trip to the doctor.

It is important to pay attention to any substantial changes in your everyday life. If your normal bodily functions and actions become affected, such as not being able to sleep regularly, chronic diarrhea, or losing the ability to speak coherently, this definitely signifies that it is time to see a doctor right away.

Your family history also plays a large part in whether a medical concern is worth a trip to the doctor. For example, many people suffer heartburn or soreness in the neck or arm muscles from time to time, but if ailments like heart disease or strokes run in your family, you will want to get checked out sooner rather than later.

Medical Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

Everyone knows by now that severe chest pain might signal a heart attack and to seek immediate medical attention in this instance. Something like shortness of breath, on the other hand, can be more understated and unclear. However, this is a condition you should pay attention to as it could be a symptom of critical lung diseases like bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or a pulmonary embolism.

A fever is another health issue that should not be taken lightly. Although a body temperature slightly above 98.6 degrees is no reason to panic and, for some people, it is even normal, an actually fever should be watched carefully. Anything above 101 degrees is considered a fever and if your thermometer registers these kinds of numbers or higher for several consecutive days, you should be evaluated by a physician to rule out conditions such as infection or cancerous growths.

Sudden and significant weight loss might also be a sign of trouble. While some of us might welcome the thought of losing a few pounds, you should be aware that dropping a large amount of weight over a short period of time when you have not done anything to cause it, such as changing your exercise or eating habits, may mean that your body is trying to warn you about things like liver problems or high blood sugar.

Unexpected changes in eyesight can also be dangerous. People of a certain age, and you know who you are, often experience a decrease in visual acuity that comes with simply getting older. However, if your vision changes out of the blue, like seeing spots before your eyes or bright lights not attributed to your surroundings, this could be the result of undiagnosed retinal damage that may need urgent repair in order to avoid more vision loss.

The Difference between Chronic and Acute Medical Concerns

Occasionally, it can be difficult to know the difference between chronic medical concerns and acute issues that may be no big deal. No one wants to be thought of as a hypochondriac, but you also don’t want to wait so long that a once treatable condition becomes hopeless.

The definition of acute is that the situation, while serious or painful, comes about abruptly and goes away quickly, with or without treatment. Chronic and persistent conditions tend to develop over time and often get progressively worse when left untreated. Doctors use a variety of tests and measurements to determine treatment options for both types of medical concerns.

In short, the risks of ignoring chronic medical problems far outweigh the potential of being a bother to your physician. There are numerous persistent health issues that can be fatal if allowed to continue without intervention, so it is best to be on the safe side and schedule an appointment with your doctor.