It seems as if Coronavirus is the only topic of conversation just now, particularly when it comes to our health. However, other illnesses and diseases have not gone away and it is important that you seek medical advice if you are unwell.
New research suggests that four in ten people are too worried about being a burden to the NHS to go to their GP. Furthermore, there were one million fewer visits to A&E this April, compared to 2.1 million visits recorded over the same period last year. And earlier this month the British Heart Foundation reported a fall of 50 per cent in the number of people attending with heart attacks. It is worrying that people are not accessing the potentially life-saving care which is still available, even during the coronavirus crisis.
If you have symptoms that could be a heart attack or stroke it is essential to dial 999.
Symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Chest pain – a sensation of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the centre of your chest
- Pain in other parts of the body – it can feel as if the pain is travelling from your chest to your arms
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling sick
- A feeling of “impending doom”
The main stroke symptoms can be remembered with the word FAST:
- Face – the face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have drooped.
- Arms – the person may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
- Speech – their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.
- Time – it’s time to dial 999 immediately if you notice any of these signs or symptoms.
There is also growing concern that cancer diagnoses may be missed because people are not making appointments to see their GP if they have unexplained signs or symptoms. It is still vitally important to be vigilant for unexplained changes to your body. These changes or symptoms are often caused by non-cancerous illnesses, but it still important to speak to your GP.
What signs should you watch out for?
- Lumps – a lump in your breast or if you have a lump that is rapidly increasing in size elsewhere on your body.
- Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness
- If you have a mole that changes shape or looks uneven
- The following changes in bowel if they have lasted for more than a few weeks:
- Blood in your poo
- Diarrhoea or constipation for no obvious reason
- A feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
- Pain in your stomach or back passage
- Persistent bloating
- Unexplained bleeding such as blood in your urine
- Bleeding from your bottom
- Blood when you cough
- Blood in your vomit
So please contact your doctor if you notice a change that isn’t normal for you. Please don’t delay in contacting your doctor, even if you are worried about what the symptoms might mean – and don’t put this off because you are worried about catching coronavirus.
Remember – you will not be wasting your doctor’s time.