Dr Nighat Arif appears on This Morning (Picture: ITV)
A GP has appeared on This Morning to deliver important advice on the health symptoms that must not be ignored as some patients refrain from going to the doctor during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last spring, a poll discovered that one in 10 people would not contact their GP even if they found a new lump or mole on their body that did not go away within a week.
Meanwhile, a third said they were worried about seeking medical help during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday morning, Dr Nighat Arif spoke to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on This Morning about the symptoms members of the public should not ignore and tips for contacting GPs either over the phone or on email.
The doctor said that if a patient is doing a telephone consultation with their GP’s surgery, they should ‘have a pen and paper handy because you’ll always be given some instructions’.
She added that if you have contacted your local GP and then receive a call from someone who appears as ‘no caller’ or ‘withheld’ on your phone, that is likely the surgery ringing you back.
‘Pick up that phone call and don’t assume that it’s just a scam or somebody else calling, because lots of GP practices have the no caller withheld number,’ Dr Nighat said.
Dr Nighat stated that if an individual has a rash or a lesion that they wish to show their doctor, then it would be advisable for them to use their GP surgery’s email service.
‘If you go to the website, there’ll always be the surgery’s email address. So send us a photograph, or even write down a list of your symptoms so the GP can be prepared for that telephone call, because we are still running 10 minute appointments,’ she said.
Holly noted that one of the most significant non-Covid health symptoms that members of the public must not ignore is a lump on the body, particularly in the breast area.
‘The heartbreaking thing as a GP is to know that my patient delayed coming to see me because they didn’t want to bother me. That is the reality of general practise, I had patients who were just sort of putting off things,’ Dr Nighat told Holly and Phillip.
Holly Willoughby, Phillip Schofield and Dr Nighat Arif on This Morning (Picture: ITV)
‘Anybody that feels a lump, particularly women, breast lump with or without pain, it has to be investigated. Please do not put that off.’
The doctor added that if an individual is experiencing pins and needles, especially ‘on one side of the body’, in addition to ‘slurred speech, drooping to the side of the face, vision that is blurry’ or what doctors sometimes describe as ‘a black curtain that’s coming across your vision’, these could be ‘signs and symptoms of a TIA or a transient ischaemic attack or a stroke’.
‘Please don’t put those off as well,’ the GP urged. ‘Those are the things we are finding people are delaying because they can be temporary. Even a one-off attack, we need to be looking at you.’
Dr Nighat stated that if a member of the public finds they are experiencing ‘any rectal bleeding’, which could involve ‘smelly dark poo, streaks of blood around the poo or blood within the pan’, even if it only happens one time, they should speak to their GP.
‘A discussion with us means that we can rule out something sinister or something that isn’t so sinister and put your mind at rest. The earlier we get it if it’s a sinister condition, we can actually change the prognosis of that condition,’ she said.
The GP added that individuals should reach out to their doctor if they find they are losing weight unintentionally, which could also be accompanied by fatigue and an impact on their mood.
Furthermore, if a person experiences chest pain on the side of their heart, which they find is going up into their arm and their jaw, they should not ‘put that off’.
The doctor stated that if a person has this left-side chest pain in addition to symptoms of indigestion, this could be a ‘heart attack until proven otherwise’, even if it only lasts for 30 seconds.
The last symptom Dr Nighat brought up was post-menopausal bleeding, which is when women who are post-menopausal – if they haven’t had a period for at least one year and one day – experience bleeding.
The doctor stated that while it may not be sinister, this could be a sign of womb cancer, which is why it is important to speak to a GP.
This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.