LONDON — The average person is currently battling four ailments and health gripes – including back pain, headaches, and seasonal allergies, according to research. In fact, the poll of 2,000 British adults reveals that 82 percent have a minor health condition, with 59 percent of them in “significant” discomfort or pain.
More than a quarter of sufferers have had specific ailments for several years or more, with nearly one in 10 (8%) having been forced to cope for more than a decade! The impact is wide-ranging. Among those with health issues, 46 percent struggle to sleep, 28 percent have developed mental health conditions, and 18 percent can’t work.
Sadly, another 28 percent do so because they feel like their doctor doesn’t “seem interested.” A similar number — 27 percent — claim they can’t seem to get an appointment with their doctor, while 22 percent simply don’t like going. About half of respondents (52%) admit it’s never crossed their mind to visit a pharmacy for advice.
“Even minor issues and ailments can impact our quality of life and the way we want to live, when they really don’t have to,” suggests Farah Ali, superintendent pharmacist at London’s Warman-Freed, in a statement. “Don’t ignore your body by putting up with discomfort and suffering in silence. There are ways to manage conditions early through self-care so that problems don’t build up and disrupt everyday activity.”
The study also found a tendency to suffer in silence is very much a nationwide problem – 57 percent of everyone polled say they usually keep quiet when they develop health conditions. Yet 54 percent admit they are “better” at looking at other people’s health status than their own.
This approach appears to extend to self-care, as 56 percent agree this isn’t one of their strong points. Worse still, 43 percent don’t consider it to be a priority. However, the same percentage thinks they have improved at paying mind to self-care during the last two or three years. About 7 in 10 respondents claim to be “good” at listening to their body and understanding its needs.
When it comes to calling out sick, the research finds the typical adult has taken seven days off work during the past year. But this figure should perhaps be higher as three in five individuals say they’ve worked despite feeling too ill to do so. Why put themselves through such misery? The most common reason is that they just don’t like taking time off (37 percent). Others blame having “too much work to do” (31 percent), and not wanting to acknowledge they had a problem to begin with (20 percent).
“You must always seek the advice of a healthcare professional for any prolonged condition. Your community pharmacist is an accessible and great first point of call if you’re struggling to get an appointment with your doctor,” says Ali. “Pharmacists are experts in minor health conditions, able to provide self-care solutions. They can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses. And they’ll [guide] you if you need to see a [doctor], nurse or other healthcare professional to treat your condition.”
72Point writer Rob Knight contributed to this report.