Thursday, March 24, 2011

Making a diagnosis

Key to making appropriate recommendations for treatment is making a diagnosis whenever possible. The GP will look for patterns of symptoms that may suggest particular disorders.

For example, certain types of chest pain may be characteristic of coronary artery disease. He or she will take your medical history, which involves not only asking about your symptoms but also about other issues.

This may include a discussion of any previous illnesses, lifestyle habits (such as alcohol intake, exercise and whether you smoke) and the health of relatives. If stress may be contributing to or causing your symptoms, the GP will ask about work,conflicts, worries, relaxation and sleep patterns. He or she may then carry out a physical examination.

All of this information will guide the GP to make a diagnosis and to select appropriate treatment, or to recommend further tests or referral to a hospital specialist if necessary.

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