Patients sitting in a waiting room waiting for their doctor's appointment
There are plenty of reasons and rationalizations that keep people from going, but you shouldn't put your health on the back-burner.
Photo Credit: Cathy Yeulet /

Why You Should be Going to the Doctor

There are plenty of reasons and rationalizations that keep people from going to the doctor, but there are just as many reasons to break that bad habit.

For one, nothing can replace a doctor’s care (despite what the Internet has led you to believe), and you should use this very valuable resource when you need to. But that brings up another important question: when do you really need to see your doctor?

An unbearable, unending pain will likely send you in search of some medical help, but more subtle symptoms and quiet situations may also call for an appointment with your GP. From screening to symptom reporting and vital treatment, there are several important reasons to get over your fear, complacency, or whatever else is holding you back from seeing a doctor.

Screening Saves Lives

It’s no secret: catching conditions early makes all the difference when it comes to comfort and longevity. While there isn’t a screening test for every condition, a check-up can go a long way to making sure you’re in good health, especially if a particular disease runs in your family.

Screening isn’t a precursor to a grim diagnosis, but rather a way for your doctor to get a clearer picture of what may be happening in your body. A simple screening test is designed to unveil abnormalities; if something is found, further testing will probably be needed to diagnose the problem.

Cancer Screening Tests

Screening for certain forms of cancer isn’t recommended, often due to the high possibility of a misreading and misdiagnosis. However, there are excellent screening procedures for some types of cancer — cervical cancer and breast cancer, for example — and women should commit to annual examinations for these aggressive diseases (or adhere to the schedule recommended by your doctor).

For men, prostate and colorectal cancers are the major threats that can be detected through annual screening. Experts recommend that men over 50 have an annual prostate exam, and if there is colorectal cancer in your family (or you are otherwise at an increased risk), you may need to set up an appointment for a colonoscopy, too.

The Importance of Eye Exams

You May Also Like

An eye exam checks out more than your sight — it can reveal eye disease, and otherwise invisible health problems. So, whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, you should visit an optometrist for a look into your eyes (especially if you have diabetes, since it can cause permanent eye damage or blindness).

If you get an annual eye exam, you drastically increase your chances of catching a serious problem in the early stages, even in distant areas of the body. Hypertension, thyroid problems and Crohn’s disease are a few of the conditions that your eyes can reveal. In some cases, a routine exam may even save your eyesight.

Getting Over Your Healthcare Hurdles

Different people have different reasons for avoiding the doctor, and though these are understandable, they certainly don’t outweigh the health benefits of a regular check-up. When it comes to medical care, it’s important to remember a few key points, like:

Your Medical Routine Doesn't Define You

Men in particular tend to shy away from regular doctor visits, partly due to the stigma surrounding personal care. A medical check-up is sometimes (and quite bizarrely) construed as a sign of weakness, which rubs against the conventional definition of masculine toughness.

However, men are at an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease come middle age, so it’s crucial that they get to the doctor now and then to protect against disease. Start looking at check-ups as avenues to better health, more vitality, and a younger physiology.

Knowledge Is Better Than Living in Fear

If you notice something strange on or in your body, it’s natural to let your mind jump to the worst-case scenario. Fear of terrible news keeps a lot of people away from the doctor, but that can make things a lot worse: since early detection is the key to quick and thorough treatment, it’s much better to summon the courage to get an exam.

A new nagging pain, a suspicious mole, or anything that just seems “off” demands a visit. If you have an unhealthy vices like smoking or drinking, you may be inclined to avoid a potential lecture on top of the bad health news, but your doctor can help you get on track to better health.

There's No Room for Embarrassment in a Doctor's Office

Clearly, some things are more difficult to talk about than others. However, doctors have seen it all — there’s no reason to think that your health concern will surprise them, and you can be sure they’ll handle the situation in a professional and compassionate manner.

It’s important to feel comfortable, so if you can’t communicate openly and honestly with your current doctor, you should look for a new one.

You Deserve More of Your Attention

Too many people think they’re too busy for their health. Stress is certainly a part of life, and most people wear their busyness like a badge of honor, but as the saying goes, if you don’t make time for your health, it won’t make time for you.

Those who have lost their health quickly find out just how precious it is, so learn from their mistakes: see your doctor before you’re in a medical crisis, and you could avoid a lot of emotionally taxing, financially draining, and unnecessary suffering.