What to do when you think you have a serious illness

You spent hours looking up your distressing health symptoms on the Internet and wondered if you have a life-threatening illness. Sounds familiar?


There’re a lot of ways your body could be telling you that your health might be at risk. Perhaps, a rash appeared out of nowhere. And you wondered if it’s stress-induced or a more serious condition. Symptoms such as fatigue or joint pain are often associated with some of the major chronic illnesses. But more often than not, these symptoms could be due to something much simpler. And all you need is 8-hour good quality sleep to recover.  


Chronic or life-threatening illness usually brings on a multitude of different symptoms instead of just one or two. With a wealth of information available at your fingertips, it’s all too easy to make a quick search of your symptoms and dive right into the worst-case scenario. Instead of trying to convince yourself that you might have a serious illness based on your Internet finds, here are steps you can take to dispel your doubts and learn how to cope should a health crisis occur.


1) Keep a log of your symptoms

As soon as you notice any symptom that could lead to a major health issue, start keeping track of these symptoms. The more specific you can be with your doctor, the better it is. Write them down in a diary if it helps. For example, how mild or severe the symptoms are, how frequent and for how long they last when they appear.


2) Consult a medical specialist

If the symptoms are severe and/or persistent, schedule an appointment with a medical specialist to clear your doubts. If you’re a policy holder of Aviva MyShield and MyHealthPlus, you can get a priority access to over 200 medical specialists with appointment confirmation within 3 working days. By visiting a specialist on Aviva’s panel, you’ll also enjoy preferred rates for consultation and cashless admission through the pre-authorisation process should you require further assessment or treatment.


3) Understand your condition and your rights

When you’re faced with the possibility of being diagnosed with a serious illness, gather as much information as you can about the illness. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor as many questions as you like until you understand the condition, recommended treatments and if there’re any risks involved. Unnecessary tests and screenings can be hazardous to your body such as being exposed to radiation.


4) Have a safety net

Getting sick is inevitable but you can be prepared for it. A sudden health crisis can potentially wipe out your life savings due to the expenses of being unwell entails. Having insurance coverage such as a hospitalisation plan, severe disability cover or critical illness cover can ease the financial burden in the event of becoming seriously ill. Many professionals have insurance coverage through their jobs. Know the type of coverage you are entitled to under your employee benefit.


5) Enlist support

Coping with a serious illness is without a doubt challenging. In fact, it can be the most challenging life event you’ll have to face. As such, it’s important to have your family and loved ones as your pillar of support. You may even want to take a family member or a friend with you to your medical appointments to so that they can offer you any support you may need.


6) Be easy on yourself

Being diagnosed with a serious illness can change your life in many ways. It’s common to experience difficult emotions such as fear, anger, grief and sadness or even mood disorders such as anxiety and depression during such time. Acceptance is the first step towards coping with your new situation and there are ways to ease the stress and help you navigate this challenging new journey.  

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