I’ve Never Been To A Doctor In My Life – Will I Be Okay?

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Millions of people cannot access basic health care services due to a lack of support and poverty. Meanwhile, others believe that the best time to see a doctor only is when you’re sick or in pain. However, regardless of your current health condition, visiting a doctor will help you find if you’re at risk of any chronic illnesses. It will enable your doctor to give you early treatments to prevent future complications and even sudden death. Healthy people under the age of 50 are required for a routine check-up once every 3 years. Those who are 50 years old and above need to see a doctor once every year.

There could be many reasons why you or your loved one avoids making an appointment to see a doctor. Some haven’t even seen one in their whole life.

Yet, it’s never too late to convince them or know for yourself about the benefits of receiving a piece of medical advice or preventive care from a health care physician.

What are the reasons why people don’t want to see a doctor?

Below are some of the many reasons your loved one or someone you know hasn’t seen a doctor in their life, and you must know what they are.

By doing so, you may be able to help them understand the importance of having a regular check-up.

1. See weight as the primary issue

I have experienced the same thing when I worry that doctors see my weight as the primary issue and not my pain or illness. Then, they would recommend I lose weight instead of prescribing me some medications to feel better.

Our weight plays a major role in our overall health, but anyone could be fat or thin but in good health.

Maybe that’s why people don’t want to see a doctor or haven’t gone for a check-up in a long time due to the fear of doctors seeing their weight first before listening to their health concerns.

2. Fear of knowing what’s wrong

I mean, who wants their doctor telling them that they are sick or have cancer? Probably this is why people avoid going to the clinic to skip the “bad news.”

It could also be that they’re afraid of doctors, hospitals, medical procedures like needles, or undergoing diagnostic tests. These may cause them stress and triggers anxiety.

Furthermore, people with a history of traumatic experiences are also afraid of suffering from it again.

3. Don’t have health insurance and enough support

Most people choose to rest and take over-the-counter drugs when they feel sick due to the lack of money to pay for a check-up. Some also believe that hospitals won’t take them if they don’t have health insurance.

Meanwhile, others with state-provided insurance would feel less important than those who pay for their own. They’re afraid that they would get discriminated against others when asking for medical help.

People living in rural areas would also have difficulty accessing health care interventions like it takes hours to get to the nearest hospital, and what if they don’t have any means of transportation?

4. Has no idea of preventive health care

Preventive health care reduces a person’s risks of developing many chronic health issues or life-long disabilities and helps them maximize their longevity of life.

Most people who haven’t been to a doctor for a long time say that it’s pointless to see a doctor when they’re not even sick. Some also believe that they have a healthy bloodline so, they expect not to develop any diseases.

They haven’t realized that preventive care is vital to people of all ages regardless if they’re healthy or have any underlying health conditions.

5. Don’t want to be embarrassed

Most people find it uncomfortable sharing details with their health care provider, especially on sensitive topics like their sexual activities.

In most cases, other people are also reluctant about screening tests, especially when they have to disrobe.

Sometimes, it could also be that they’re afraid of their symptoms being just a product of their imagination or from being overdramatic.

6. They don’t have a doctor

Lucky for those who grew up with a personal doctor, some don’t have the same privilege. Some people have difficulty figuring out what type of health care they need, especially on their first time seeing a doctor.

Others live in communities that are out of reach of hospitals, so they experience a lack of resources that a local clinic cannot provide.

Furthermore, people don’t have an idea of how, where, and who they should ask for a check-up for the first time.

Why should you see a doctor now?

A young woman is talking to her doctor during her regular checkup.

Regardless if you’re feeling okay or in pain, you should have a regular check-up with your doctor.

It’s one way to avoid chronic illnesses that you may have in the future. Your doctor can also advise you on how to improve your lifestyle to maximize your life expectancy.

Below are some of the things you should know about how important are regular check-ups.

Avoiding future complications of life-threatening illnesses

When you get regular check-ups, your doctors are always up-to-date about your health condition.

Even if you present no symptoms, they will recommend you for screening tests to detect if you’re at risk of any potential life-threatening illnesses. Thus, they will give you advice or treatments to prevent it from developing into a serious problem.

Early treatments of potential health diseases will increase the possibility of you getting rid of experiencing severe symptoms and further complications.

Your doctors will have to monitor your condition if they find out you’re having early signs of chronic illnesses like cancer or diabetes.

Additionally, by receiving early treatments to prevent further health complications, you can save up a lot of money. Think about having to spend all your savings in one go to get yourself treated for an illness that you only found out about later in your life.

Staying up-to-date for vaccinations

Vaccines have saved millions of lives every year. Before the invention of vaccines and medicines, many people would die from severe coughing and fever.

Now, you must protect yourself from the risk of severe and infectious diseases by getting vaccinated.

Additionally, you are not just protecting yourself but also keeping others from getting sick. You could have been a carrier of any potentially contagious diseases when you chose not to get vaccinated.

The moment when you are born, doctors will recommend your parents follow a vaccination schedule. There is a specific timeline and the number of shots for your vaccinations.

On your birth, you will receive your first dose of Hepatitis B vaccine, which will follow a second and third shot when you’re 2 and 18 months old, respectively. Then, at 11-12 years old, you should get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

Even at 50, you must be vaccinated for the Herpes zoster (Shingles—RZV formulation).

There are many types of vaccines that doctors will recommend for immunizations. By staying up-to-date on vaccinations, you can prevent yourself from any existing and occurring infectious diseases.

Develop and maintain a relationship with your doctor

Having regular check-ups will help you build and maintain an open and honest relationship with your doctor. It will enable you to talk without boundaries about your health issues.

Your doctor is the best person to give you medical advice, educate you about important health points, examine and treat you for your illnesses.

They will be the ones to give you the utmost preventive care you need. Most importantly, your primary care physician will play a significant role in every decision you make for your overall health and well-being.

What should you do for a first-time doctor’s visit?

If you’re working your way or helping a loved one to a doctor’s visit for the very first time. Here are some things that can help you have a productive visit to the clinic;

Show up on time

Start by putting down the time and date of your check-up where you can always see it and get notified. You must come to the clinic at least 30 minutes earlier to avoid getting late.

Do not ever be a no-show. If something comes up, be sure to let the doctor’s office know at least 24 hours before your appointment.

Doctors have other essential things to do, and waiting an hour would be a huge waste of time.

Bring any information with you

When you’re scheduling a doctor’s visit, you should also plan to show up fully prepared. Below are some things you may bring with you to the clinic.

Your medical history

It includes the dates and locations of your past or recent surgeries. You may also bring your diagnostic and imaging results from previous check-ups.

Your medications

You may bring the actual box or bottle of your medicines along with the dosages and other information. You should also include the over-the-counter drugs you’re taking and other food supplements.

Additionally, do not lie about not taking your medications when your treatment isn’t over yet.

Your insurance and identification card

Aside from just bringing an insurance card, you must know what healthcare costs it covers beforehand. You better call your insurance company and list down the procedures and medications that it will cover.

Bring a family member with you

It is better to be accompanied by someone or a family member when having check-ups and laboratory tests.

They will help fill in details about your condition and help you remember and make sure you take the advice and medications that your doctor will give you.

If your doctor doesn’t speak your preferred language, you must bring somebody who speaks the same language as your doctor. Or, you should make sure the doctor you’re seeing speaks the same language as you in the first place.

Talk to your doctor

You should tell your doctor and not lie about your lifestyle, bad habits, or even health problems that you think aren’t serious or worth discussing.

Think about your doctor as your health care partner. It would be best to build on that trust as they will need a lot of information to give you the best advice and help you make smart decisions for your benefit.

Talk about your symptoms, why you stopped taking your medicines, including if you can’t afford them, and even why you haven’t seen a doctor for a long time.

You can always write everything down on a note to ensure you don’t miss any details when sharing them with your doctor, especially if you haven’t seen one for years.

Being prepared for your first check-up will set your relationship with your new doctor on the right track. It is also important to make reasonable expectations on your first visit to avoid disappointment and stress.

What medical tests should you get when you haven’t seen a doctor for a while?

A general check-up

A young man is at his doctors for his annual check-up.

During your first visit, you will be answering questions about your health conditions like how you’re feeling or if you have been sick or had allergies recently.

Your doctor will also ask about your lifestyle, including your eating and sleeping patterns, your vices (if you have any), or how often you engage in physical activities.

Then, they will measure your BMI by getting your height and weight. Additionally, your doctor will examine your blood pressure and ask you for blood testing to check your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

If your numbers show good results, you may have to wait until next year for another routine check-up. If not, your doctor will give you advice or medications to keep you from risks of getting heart diseases, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.

STI and HIV Tests

Even if you haven’t been sexually active for a while, doctors recommend you get tested for any sexually transmissible infections. Some STIs stay dormant and show no signs or symptoms.

You must get your urine tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, especially if you’re sexually active and engage in sexual activities without protection. Both infections can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility and often shows no symptoms. 

You must also consider getting a blood test for HIV. Doctors recommend individuals between the ages of 15 and 65 get the test at least once. People who are prone to HIV or at high risk must get the test repetitively every year.

Mammogram and Cervical Cancer Screening

Doctors recommend women should get cervical cancer screening regularly. They will ask you for a Pap test or Pap smear to see any abnormal changes of cells in your cervix.

Your doctor may also recommend you for human papillomavirus (HPV) screening as this virus increases the risk of getting cervical cancer. You may start getting this test when you’re about the age of 21.

Women of ages 40 and above should also consider getting an X-ray on their breasts (mammogram) for doctors to check early signs of breast cancer.

Prostate Examination

Men with a family history of prostate cancer should consider getting this test as early as age 40. However, doctors recommend this test to men around 40-45 years old, regardless of their family history.

The test involves a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.

Dental check-up

Brushing and flossing your teeth and gargling a mouthwash sure keeps your mouth healthy. However, regular dental check-ups will help you prevent cavities, gum diseases, and other dental problems.

Your dentist or dental hygienist will check for abnormalities in your face, neck, and mouth. They will also perform diagnostic tests for potential oral diseases.

Mental check-up

One way to keeping yourself healthy is by having your mood and mental health in check. Aside from having your routine physical examinations, you may tell your doctors if you’re experiencing mental health issues.

It is to prevent experiencing severe symptoms that will trigger complications in your overall health and well-being.

Vaccination updates

Hopefully, your parents followed the timeline and let you have the full vaccination package when you were a kid. However, some vaccines need booster shots to update your immunizations.

Doctors will recommend you get a shot when you’re planning to travel. Pregnant women must also get flu vaccines for better immunization.


What to do when no doctor can diagnose you?

Some diseases are difficult to diagnose, especially in their early stages. Below are some of the few things you can do;

– Ask for a second opinion from another doctor or let your primary care physician refer you to another specialist. 

– Do your research about your symptoms. However, you must know what is good from bad information the internet is giving you. 

– Listen to your body and mind. If you feel like there’s more to what your doctor is telling you about your condition, you must take time to let yourself understand more about your situation. You can do this by logging the changes in your symptoms in a diary and show it to your doctor. Some diseases present symptoms that are hard to identify causes in their early stages.

– Find a community or people who have the same issues as you. It could be the best option you have to understand more about your condition. Maybe you’ll also learn from the past experiences of other people and apply them to yourself.

– You may also look for more advice and raise your concerns to other medical institutions.

The Takeaway

You have the right to make your own decisions for your health. However, there’s no harm in knowing more about your general health condition by having regular check-ups with your doctor. By doing so, you will improve your current health status and maximize your life longevity.

The things mentioned above about the important tests you should get on your first visit are just a few. Your doctors will recommend other medical examinations depending on your age, general health, and risk factors for everyday health problems.

Remember that anybody can get sick without notice. One way to prevent serious complications is to have yourself checked by your primary physician.

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Reana Jean Cuevas
Mabuhay! I'm Reana Jean Cuevas. A healthy body means living well with no worries-just happiness and more life adventures. Taking care of my body and well-being is an investment for my career and future. I was a volunteer at the Philippine Red Cross. I joined the training to become a first-aider and be able to provide other health and safety services in my community. I love discussing anything but mainly first-aid, home remedies, and women's health.

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