Top 5 Health Issues For GP Visits in the UK (Excluding Cold & Flu)

by Tanya June 02, 2024

Over three-quarters of UK adults (78%) have concerns about their health.

The top health concerns for which people in the UK commonly turn to their general practitioners (GPs) are as follows:

1. Chronic exhaustion without a cause

Being exhausted after a long day is natural.

However, if you continuously feel fatigued even after getting enough sleep during the night, it could be more than just tiredness.

Persistent fatigue might be associated with several conditions, including anaemia, thyroid disorders, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Anaemia, for example, is usually caused by low levels of iron or vitamin B12 in your body, leading to reduced red blood cell formation and oxygen transportation. Thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism slow down metabolism, leading to tiredness and weight gain.

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, get in touch with your GP.  If you have to wait too long for a GP appointment, look for services like Anytime Doctor –  fully regulated GP practitioners in the UK regulated by the Care Quality Commission, GMC and GPhC

2. Digestive problems

Issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and other gastrointestinal complaints are common reasons for GP visits.

These conditions can cause significant discomfort and impact overall well-being.

Even though these symptoms are frequently due to dieting patterns and other lifestyle factors, they can also be a sign of more severe illnesses, including food sensitivities like lactose or gluten intolerance, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Medical management is necessary for IBD, which includes diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis that lead to chronic inflammation of the digestive system.

3. Unexplained change in weight

When there is an abrupt change in weight without understanding its causes, it may be a signal of certain health conditions.

For example, a significant loss of weight may indicate hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or even several types of cancer – but those are often extreme causes.

Weight loss occurs in hyperthyroidism due to increased appetite despite an accelerated metabolic rate by the thyroid gland. With diabetes, too much glucose not being used properly may lead to the breakdown of fat and muscle tissue for energy, causing weight loss. There are numerous reasons outside cancer.

Although the occasional symptoms are mostly trivial, repetitive and intense instances require action. You should note these general illnesses and see if they apply to you – there are many others we could have added to the list. Seek medical help immediately if you have any of these signs frequently.

4. High blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a significant health concern in the UK. Approximately 30% of adults in the UK have high blood pressure. The prevalence of hypertension increases with age, affecting about 9% of adults aged 16 to 44 and up to 60% of those aged 65 and over.

Untreated high blood pressure is particularly concerning because it can lead to severe health complications, including heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases.

5. Back pain (and other musculoskeletal problems)

Back pain, arthritis, and other joint or muscle issues are common complaints. These conditions can significantly affect daily functioning and quality of life, prompting many to seek medical advice and treatment.

Back pain is a major health issue in the UK, affecting millions of people and significantly impacting their quality of life.

Chronic back pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain in the UK. About 42% of individuals with chronic pain report that at least some of it is localized in the back.

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