When is the right time to see an Internal Medicine specialist or a general physician?
Diseases don't come with prior notice and sometimes it becomes difficult to determine what exactly is causing the symptoms. Any diagnosis calls for the need of proper assessment and evaluation, which can only be done by an expert. A physician specialises in Internal Medicine which deals with the assessment, treatment and management of a wide spectrum of medical conditions both acute and chronic. In this blog, we have listed some common problems that call for the need of consulting a general physician.
- High Fever - Fever refers to a rise in the body temperature, caused by the immune system in response to an infection. Although it can make one feel uncomfortable, it is usually not a cause of concern if it is seasonal, low grade and improves in a few days. However, if fever is high grade, with chills, severe weakness, associated symptoms like headache, cough, breathing difficulty, chest pain, Diarrhea, vomiting or worsening of general well-being, it calls for immediate medical check-up. People in elderly age group or those with multiple chronic ailments, post organ transplant, immunocompromised status need to be more cautious with infections and seek early medical advice with a general physician.
- Persistent Cough or Cold- You don’t necessarily need to see a doctor for a seasonal cold and mild flu, however, if the problem lingers for weeks or is accompanied by symptoms like severe body aches, fever, chills, breathlessness, swallowing difficulties or chest pain, it is better to see a general physician to get yourself assessed. A proper medical assessment is also important if the patient is elderly, an infant or pregnant.
- Unintended Weight Loss - For some people, losing weight is like a blessing, but if you have no intention of losing weight and it’s still happening, it could be a sign of an underlying ailment. An unintended drop in weight can be linked to thyroid, diabetes, hepatic disease or even a malignancy. Consult a general physician immediately if you have been experiencing the problem.
- Breathlessness - It is normal to fall short of breath after a rigorous physical activity or when you are at a high altitude. However, if you are experiencing the problem even at rest, it could be an indication of a respiratory disease like asthma or bronchitis. Seeing a general physician is the best thing to do if you are facing a problem.
- Unexplained Pain in the Abdomen and Pelvic Area - In women, these problems are often linked with ovulation or periods and generally people link them with gastrointestinal infection or overeating. It is, however, pertinent to note that severe and persistent pain in the abdominal or pelvic areas could be linked to a number of other conditions as well. These can range from appendicitis to renal infection and much more. So, it is always good to get yourself evaluated at the earliest.
- Chest Pain - There is a variety of different conditions that can cause chest pain. These range from acidity to heart attack and much more. You should not ignore your symptoms without assessment, which is only possible with the help of a doctor. If you have been experiencing unexplained chest pain, especially one that tends to aggravate with movement, it’s important to consult a general physician to ensure proper treatment.
- Experiencing Symptoms after taking certain Medication - If you notice any unusual symptoms after starting a new medication or getting immunized, it is better to see a general physician to negate the risks of any serious complications. It could be possible that you are allergic to the medicine and hence it is important to get proper medical care.
- Chronic Ailments- Diabetes, High blood Pressure, Thyroid disorders, Cholesterol issues, Vitamin deficiencies and generalised weakness need evaluation and long term treatment.
By now, you must have understood when is the right time to see a general physician. There are a variety of other symptoms that you can easily get assessed by them. They will prescribe the right medication and even refer you to see a specialist if the problem needs a more specialised
Dr. Sfurti Mann, Head of the Department & Senior Consultant
Internal Medicine and Diabetology
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