By Charles F. Glassman, MD -CoachMD

For many of us, navigating through the medical system is frustrating and complicated.

 

What makes it tough is that just going to the doctor is no easy task. Busy signals and endless loops of voice menu options are more the rule than the exception. Because of this, we often take our health and even diagnosis into our own hands as we seek medical advice from internet sites, friends and family, or television programming.
But what happens if you find yourself feeling a little bit off; maybe even sick. Should you try to contact your doctor or wait it out? Chances are, if you reach out to your doctor, you won't get a call back very soon, or at best may get to talk with a nurse.

With so many horrific stories on the news and in newspapers, it is no wonder that if we should get a symptom, as benign as it may seem to a professional, it is enough to get us pretty worried. Running our concerns by family and friends or searching on the internet can make things worse. So, what to do?

What I have done over the years, when evaluating a patient's symptoms, is offer the following rule of thumb. If symptoms increase in frequency (occurring more often, for instance, 3 times a day up from once every other day); duration (lasting longer, for instance, now lasting hours instead of minutes when symptoms started); or severity (progressively getting more intense), then I suggest looking into them further. Additionally, if they should persist for a certain period (this varies depending on the severity of symptoms), then I might also recommend further evaluation and/or intervention. Otherwise, the phrase that I use is "watchful waiting". This doesn't mean to ignore something, rather to watch for increases or persistence.

So if you find yourself unable to get in touch with your physician in a timely fashion and are nervous about something, perhaps approach it as I do and see if you still feel that sense of urgency. If you do, don't take no for an answer and insist on talking to your doctor.

 

Dr. Charles Glassman

Charles F. Glassman, MD, FACP - has practiced general internal medicine, for over 20 years.  Dr. Glassman specializes in personalized, patient focused care, with an emphasis on wellness and prevention. He approaches medicine in an integrative manner, looking carefully at all traditionally approved methods while recognizing the power of unconventional therapies. Dr. Glassman has repeatedly earned National and Regional Top Doctor and Patient Choice Awards. His new service, Coach MD blends the knowledge and experience of a caring medical doctor with the passion and guidance of a life coach.

He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Brain Drain, which helps explain and fix self-sabotage. It is the winner of the 2011 Independent Publisher's Award and 2011 Eric Hoffer Award as the best Self-Help and Health book, 2010 Pinnacle Book Award for best Self-Help Book, and 2009 LA Book Festival Best Spirituality Book.

To new subscribers on his website, he is now offering his free, new EBook, Destiny Diet. Weekly, Dr. Glassman hosts Medicine on the Cutting Edge, which gives a voice to pioneers in medical research and development. Dr. Glassman lives with his family in Rockland County, NY.
Dr. Charles GlassmanCoachMD Medical Advice ColumnEmotional and Social Well-being,Families Online Magazine,Health  By Charles F. Glassman, MD -CoachMD For many of us, navigating through the medical system is frustrating and complicated.   What makes it tough is that just going to the doctor is no easy task. Busy signals...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids