Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are all potentially devastating conditions that receive a lot of press. One would think they would be among the most common reasons for a doctor visit. However, they are not in the top five. If this is surprising, keep in mind that these conditions are not always obvious and can sometimes present with few symptoms. Here are the top five reasons that people see a doctor and why:

1) See a doctor for Psychological Problems

see a doctor

About one in four American adults will suffer with a mental illness during a given year.(1) These sobering numbers speak to the tremendous suffering that many people live with every day. While it is common and appropriate to feel down or anxious in certain situations, uncontrolled emotional liability cannot be treated by “toughing it out” or ignoring it. Hence, sufferers see a doctor.

2) Upper Respiratory Conditions

Colds, bronchitis, sinusitis, and the flu are all lumped into this broad description. The common cold is given that name for a reason. The symptoms of upper respiratory conditions are noticeable, and the average adult contracts two to four of these conditions annually.(2) The frequency of these infections, combined with the obviousness of symptoms and the misery they provoke, explains why so many doctor visits are made to treat them.

3) Cholesterol Issues

While specific heart disease many not be on the list, this symptom easily makes the top five. The vast majority of treatment for cholesterol issues concern hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol. The information and public health campaigns to raise awareness to this potential precursor to a number of dangerous conditions has motivated people to know their cholesterol numbers and work to keep them in the desired range. Nutritional consulting with a family doctor is also helpful for this condition.

4) Pain

This can be separated into back problems and joint disorders, but there are a myriad of conditions that have pain as the primary symptom. Over 52 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis,(3) and 31 million Americans are experiencing back pain at any given time.(4) Pain represents a common cause for a doctor visit since it is both very prevalent and extremely disabling. Nobody wants to wait around for pain to subside, and there is also the real possibility that it is the symptom of a serious underlying condition.

5) Skin Disorders

When it comes to noticeable conditions, pain is only trumped by skin problems. The reason so many doctor visits concern the skin is because the patient can actually see the condition. Cysts, acne, warts, unusual lesions, and other skin conditions are immediately noticeable as out of the ordinary. Even “invisible” skin conditions like itchiness will develop into something visible if the skin is scratched. Factor in the important public awareness campaign regarding skin cancer and the need to get moles checked, and you have the most common reason for doctor visits.

Looking over this list it becomes apparent that these conditions all share a few things in common. They all are illnesses that have extensive public awareness, and, with the exception of cholesterol issues, all have noticeable and unpleasant symptoms.

It is also important to note that all of these conditions have treatment protocols, whether medicinal or other. Despite the fact that none of the above conditions have a cure, there are remedies that can help those suffering.