A third of Brits ignore health problems so as ‘not cause a fuss’

Adults across the UK are missing out on vital care for fear of making an unnecessary fuss

A survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted by Benenden Health, has uncovered that 32% of Brits ignore health symptoms, with just 35% reporting that they regularly monitor their health.

So why is that? Well, the survey found that, among those who ignored symptoms, the most common reasons they gave for doing so were ‘being unable to get a healthcare appointment’, ‘thinking others required the medical attention more’, ‘not wanting to cause a fuss’, ‘believing that the NHS is too overstretched and wouldn’t have time to see them’, and ‘because they were too scared to find out what the issue was’.

Though worrying, it’s easy to see how we’ve got to this point. With the news stocked with stories of overflowing waiting lists, burnt out healthcare workers, and NHS services cuts, thinking twice before reaching out for help is becoming the new normal. But at what cost?

In the survey, results found that only a quarter of the population monitors their blood pressure, one in 10 check their cholesterol, and 7% perform regular checks for cancer. Additionally, 8% said that they do not check or monitor their health, because they don’t know how to. All this together results in potentially serious medical conditions being missed.

In a bid to tackle the problem, Benenden Health and Channel 4 have launched the ‘Time for a check in’ campaign, to encourage people to tune in to their health, and learn about when and why it’s important to reach out for help.

“I know first-hand how when things get busy, our health can be the first thing to take a backseat. I’ve definitely been guilty of taking my physical and mental health for granted at times and have only realised this at times when my body hasn’t worked in the way I’ve wanted it to,” says AJ Odudu, presenter and face of the campaign.

“I believe that good health is of core importance to our happiness and that’s why it’s so important to make sure we’re checking in and looking after ourselves. If you’ve noticed some changes and something doesn’t look or feel right, talk to someone, see a professional and put your health first: it’s no fuss at all.”

Benenden Health has created an online hub, where you can find information and guides, but there are many ways that you can stay on top of your health.

You can sign up for free text or email reminders to check your breasts by signing up on coppafeel.org, you can also try running through a mental health check-in, or visit the NHS website for information on an A-Z on health conditions and symptoms. Plus, a key way of staying on top of things to have a good understanding of the things to watch out for, such as regular chest pain, sudden weight loss, a change in bowel habits, and a change to an existing mole.

“There is nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to giving your body the once over and seeking medical advice if you notice something that doesn’t seem quite right,” says Cheryl Lythgoe, matron at Benenden Health.

“By educating ourselves so we can identify and understand the signs and symptoms of common medical conditions, regularly checking in with our friends and family and seeking attention if we do spot something, we can increase peace of mind, get appropriate and timely treatment where necessary, and improve the nation’s health.”

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