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Very down after seeing GP

(56 Posts)
Salteena Mon 11-Mar-13 10:16:18

I don't often post in health but about a month ago I asked for advice about my increasingly painful, achey arms....Vitamin D deficiency was mentioned as a possible cause.

Well, I put off going to the GP as I usually do (I rarely feel I'm ill enough to 'bother' them), but the arm pain developed into joint pain, hip and leg pain, in fact all-over-body pain, as though my actual bones were aching. Add to that a very stiff neck, which is unusual; disturbed sleep pattern, feeling depressed, increasingly frequent migraine-like headaches and sometimes a really weird tightening feeling in my chest - not pain, but a squeezing sensation.

I know chest problems shouldn't really be ignored so I did make an appt, after a struggle. Had to wait 3 weeks in fact, and even then couldn't get to see my normal GP.

Anyway, I came away feeling as though I could burst into tears, which is not me at all. He sent me for bloods but flatly refused to add a check of my Vitamin D levels. Apparently it's VERY uncommon for people to be deficient, he says - which is not the impression I get from these threads. I asked him twice (politely I might add) and he just said no. He also mentioned that it 'costs money' for that particular test and he'd only start to even consider it if some of the other results indicated there might be a need. Am menopausal btw, but don't have any of the usual troublesome symptoms with that.

Basically he thought I just had 'wear and tear'. Which I know is perfectly likely to be a factor with some of it, but I've been feeling so increasingly wretched that I find it hard to believe there isn't something more happening.

I know it must be infuriating for doctors when patients come in having semi-diagnosed themselves, but I feel, really, pretty much dismissed as a time-waster. He wasn't what you'd call empathetic.

Sorry this is so long but I just wanted to blurt it all out, as there's no-one to talk to about this! AIBU to feel sad?

AnnIonicIsoTronic Mon 11-Mar-13 10:18:43


HumphreyCobbler Mon 11-Mar-13 10:20:00

YWNBU to feel angry

he sounds crap and dismissive

I would go and see another doctor

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Mon 11-Mar-13 10:22:30

Yy go and seek a second opinion. Hope you feel better soon.

Salteena Mon 11-Mar-13 10:22:49

Thanks both, so maybe I'm not being too over-sensitive. I would have preferred 'my' doctor but it's virtually impossible to get an appointment with her. They seemingly never answer the phone and if you use their automated system, you can't get a slot any earlier than 3-4 weeks hence, it seems angry

georgedawes Mon 11-Mar-13 10:24:45

Not unusual to be vit d deficient, in fact it's incredibly common! Some GPS very reluctant to test or treat it though.

I'd either ask for second opinion or get it tested privately, which is what I did. Google vitamin d test and there is an NHS hospital in Midlands that does it for 25 pounds. I then took results to my go and they then treated me (but refused follow up check to see if worked)

greenfern Mon 11-Mar-13 10:26:54

Thats terrible you had to wait 3 weeks for an appointment.

You know your own body and when there is something wrong.

Try and get an appointment with your own doctor, share your worries with then, be adamant you are not going to be dismissed.

Hopefully you will not have to wait for 3 weeks.

Salteena Mon 11-Mar-13 10:28:50

The ironic thing is that I was talking to a friend about all this and we discussed the Vitamin D thing as neither of us had really been that aware of it until someone suggested it to me on MN.

Friend later emailed to say she'd been for a routine GP appt, was sent for a blood test and just as an afterthought following our conversation asked for them to check Vit D. They didn't bat an eyelid and she then got a call to say her levels were much lower than they should be and could she go and collect a prescription for mega-strength supplements.

After that I was confident there wouldn't be any problem when I went for my appt. How wrong can you be...

Sugarice Mon 11-Mar-13 10:52:40

He sounds like quite a twattish GP!

I was under the impression last summer that due to the lack of sunshine that Vit D defieciency was on the rise, in fact I have a bottle of Vit D pills in a cupboard for my ds's which I bought after hearing that report.

Second opinion required OP, hope you see a more sympathetic Dr.

Salteena Mon 11-Mar-13 10:57:57

Thanks to all. georgedawes I just rang for one of those home kits so we'll see.....not that I'm wishing a Vitamin D deficiency on myself, but I now really want to see what the result is. Fair enough if it's in the normal range and GP is right, but I'm still reluctant to go back and see him again thanks to his bedside manner, or lack thereof. I'll now need to start the battle to get an appointment with someone else this side of Christmas angry

Yes, after being alerted to the possibility of deficiency I did check it out, and was genuinely surprised to see pretty much all of my symptoms listed.

georgedawes Mon 11-Mar-13 11:03:10

Their reference range is under 50 is deficient, but lots of other trusts say 75+ is normal, so just be aware could still be deficient if not.

If it is low insist on treatment, over the counter remedies are nowhere near enough. My levels were 14 and I could barely walk a few metres when diagnosed.

fuzzpig Mon 11-Mar-13 11:06:31

What an arse. It is not right for a GP to be so dismissive.

When you get your results, find out if calcium was checked, as low calcium is an indicator of low vitD (since the latter aids the absorption of the former)

Hopefully he has tested you for things like ESR (inflammation), thyroid etc, there are loads of illnesses that have your symptoms. Don't be fobbed off, it sounds like more than 'wear and tear' (hmm) to me!

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 11-Mar-13 11:09:08

Would change GP practice; its not point in dealing with uncommunicative and or unhelpful GP practices. A three week wait for an appt is completely unacceptable.

Barbie1 Mon 11-Mar-13 11:21:05

Your list of symptoms match mine... I went to the doctors here in France and they ran a complete set of bloods on me. Turns out I'm vit d deficient and have to take a liquid supplant once every three months. Never even considered it would be this, I thought I had a late onset of pnd. I hope you get sorted soon

ELR Mon 11-Mar-13 11:32:32

Could be iron deficiency and under active thyroid. I had all your symptoms and that's what I had. They prescribed yucky iron tablets and monitored thyroid but I take spatone iron supplement instead of the ones they prescribed,thyroid has almost sorted itself out but still very low but gp refuses to medicate me but I don't feel too bad now. It has taken 18 months for iron levels to return to the lowest accepted levels but within a few weeks of taking spatone(2 sachets) the headaches and tiredness had gone.
If all bloods come back ok go to a different gp and request vit d.

timidviper Mon 11-Mar-13 11:54:34

I have a little bit of sympathy for the GP here as many surgeries are swamped by the "worried wel"l at the moment with requests for Vit D levels. I'm not minimising your distress but it is hard for GPs and many of your symptoms are also consistent with menopause, thyroid, etc.

I would wait until you get the blood results back about the obvious things and pursue it with the GP if those are clear. GPs do get regular updates about clinical issues and many areas are in the process of setting protocols so I'm sure he will be aware of this. Don't fall into the trap of valuing Dr Google above a trained medical professional although you could be right and he might be a knob!

georgedawes Mon 11-Mar-13 12:03:07

If it wasn't for Dr google I never would've had my vit d checked, I was having suicidal thoughts by the end as my mobility had been restricted so much it had completely affected my life. I'd seen numerous drs but was completely dismissed because my other blood tests were normal. Yet my symptoms were classic.

Op is not the worried well, she is not feeling well at all. This is purely about cost.

Salteena Mon 11-Mar-13 12:07:54

timidviper I completely get what you're saying but I don't think I'm well ATM (though I am worried!). The fact is that I never expected to get quite such an abrupt brush-off as I assumed from friend's experience and from threads on here that it was a routine thing to test for.

Yes, of course Google is no substitute for a doctor but there are degrees of thoroughness in medical professionals....I'm not going off on a rant here but I pretty much diagnosed myself with endometriosis having been fobbed off by a succession of GPs, one of whom told me I was just constipated. Much later and after paying to see a respected specialist I turned out to have Stage 4 endo after all sad

Salteena Mon 11-Mar-13 12:08:54

Oops x-post with georgedawes

mercibucket Mon 11-Mar-13 12:09:19

its not the worried well, its the worried ill. vit d deficiency has the potential to cost the nhs countless millions, there are now articles in pulse, the gp magazine about the cost to the nhs of treating vit d deficiency. some health authorities have tightened up the criteria for running the test, as if you dont test, you dont have to treat, and so can save money.
it is actually v cheap to self treat, and i would recommend a high dose thro winter in any case, but see what the bloods come back as and do any initisl high dose treatment via the gp

georgedawes Mon 11-Mar-13 12:10:53

It is a routine test, as in easy to do and vit d deficiency is very common, but I think GPS pay extra so dont like to request it. Ridiculous, I had loads of other blood tests that were not relevant, and I only got treatment after going private.

mercibucket Mon 11-Mar-13 12:11:31

oh yeah, my gp was the same, twat, but did agree to test after 20 min when i pretty much refused to leave. oh imagine the apologies when i was v v v deficient. yes, imagine them, cos i never heard any

georgedawes Mon 11-Mar-13 12:15:18

Completely agree with merci. Evidence is clear levels of at least 70+ are healthy yet many trusts now saying 50 is healthy. Purely so don't have to treat.

It's short sighted as causes long term health problems, but doesn't affect short term budget so that's ok.

I found it very interesting that my gp had had his own levels checked, which were low, and he had had treatment. I had classic symptoms but was denied even a simple blood test.

timidviper Mon 11-Mar-13 12:15:59

I agree the OP isn't well George and I'm not implying she is worried well but GPs are often swamped in those who are.

It is all very well saying it is just a cost issue but where would you suggest the money to pay for all these tests comes from if the budget is squeezed to squeaking point already? Each test costs over £15 and some areas estimate the cost of testing on request would run into millions. Which group of patients would you cut something from to cover this? Children, terminally ill, who?

Just as a couple of final points, levels are always lower in winter/spring with about 50% of people having insufficiency at this time of year and, if you pay for prescriptions, many Vit D supplements are cheaper to buy.

georgedawes Mon 11-Mar-13 12:17:27

Same here merci. He actually had a massive rant at me about wasting NHS time til he stopped and read my results that I'd brought with me. His mouth was opening and closing like a goldfish.

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