The Walk-In Clinic: Changing the Face of Medicine

“Walk-in clinic” is a loosely defined term that can encompass some non-traditional medical care facilities. The common thread, as the name suggests, is the fact that these institutions accept people who come in without an appointment. They can be urgent care facilities that treat immediate medical needs that don’t quite warrant a trip to the emergency room. Or, the term can refer to convenient care kiosks or departments housed within pre-existing businesses. An example would be a pharmacy, supermarket, shopping mall, or drug store that also provides health screening, preventive care, vaccinations, and other services. Depending on how you categorize it, community health centers may also fall within the umbrella definition of a walk-in clinic.

No matter how exactly you define it, one thing is clear: the walk-in clinic is changing the way people in the United States receive medical care and the way they interact with the medical profession. In 1995, there were less than 1,000 medical centers in the United States that didn’t require an appointment. Twenty years later, in 2015, there were nearly 11,000 such facilities. The rapid growth is mainly spurred by the twin factors of convenience and cost. First, most urgent care and retail facilities are open past five in the afternoon, and many are also open on weekends. For people who work regular nine-to-five jobs Monday through Friday, these hours are a huge advantage.

To see a traditional general practitioner, a patient ordinarily has to schedule an appointment in advance and miss part of their workday to receive care. At a walk-in clinic, a patient has a broader range of hours and can fit their visit around their schedule, rather than rearrange their schedule to accommodate the visit. Further, because many of these medical care centers are co-located with retail locations, patients can tick a few items off their shopping list while they wait. Another convenience is that a person can receive care the same day. With traditional physicians, even regular patients might have to wait weeks before they can get an appointment. For someone suffering from, for example, an ear infection, immediate diagnosis and medicine are necessary to alleviate the pain.

Cost is a more tenuous advantage since both the purpose of the visit and the level and type of insurance coverage can change the calculus. On average, a visit to a primary-care physician runs around $120 while a visit to a retail care center only costs around $75. Urgent care can be slightly more expensive than going to a clinic because they have an attendant MD on hand at all times, and doctors demand higher salaries. A study, however, showed that urgent care is still slightly less expensive when factoring in the cost of prescriptions.

General practitioners contend that you can’t put a dollar value on the personal relationship between a doctor and those she treats. This is undoubtedly true, but with the cost of health care continuing to rise, intangibles might have to take a backseat to budgetary restraints.

Eight Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalance is a very common problem for millions of people. It can stem from lifestyle and diet, but it can also be genetic. The following are some symptoms to watch for:

Increased Weight Gain

Those who have a hormonal imbalance may find that they gain weight despite their efforts to remain healthy. Insulin resistance is one of the most common causes of this issue, which is a side effect of lacking certain hormones in the body. Certain dietary changes can help with weight gain, including avoiding processed foods, sugar, and wheat products.

More Belly Fat

Belly fat is a problem for many people, but it is particularly problematic for those with a hormonal imbalance. This is due to the stress that the endocrine system is under, which results in the underproduction of certain hormones and overproduction of cortisol. More cortisol leads to the body storing fat for use later, resulting in more belly fat.

Decreased Libido

Another noticeable symptom of this issue is a reduced libido. It typically begins with disturbed sleep patterns, which can cause reduced sex hormone production.

Exhaustion

Those suffering from unbalanced hormones can easily become fatigued. Feeling sluggish and foggy is not a normal daily occurrence, so this can be indicative of a problem. Starting a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help reduce the increased exhaustion.

Depression

If feelings of depression or anxiety are being experienced, this can be indicative of a hormonal issue. Depression is a clue that the body is overworked, toxic, or stressed, and is not being nourished in the way that it needs in order to properly function. Take any action that is needed to fight depression, including starting therapy, asking the doctor about medication, starting a supplement, or increasing exercise.

Poor Sleep Patterns

Insomnia is the beginning of the stress that affects the body’s cortisol levels. This can have a direct impact on hormone levels. Aim to get to bed at a reasonable time each night. Avoid electronics and screens to get the best quality sleep.

Sweating

Excess sweating, particularly at night, is something that many people have to endure. It is commonly seen in women. While excess sweating is a common component of hormonal imbalance, it can also be a side effect of not caring for the body in general. To combat the sweating, take note of daily feelings, as emotions can often trigger increased internal temperature. Depression can lead to night sweats, as can anxiety and frustration. Try to get those feelings out by journaling before going to bed in order to get a restful night’s sleep.

Food Cravings

Adrenal fatigue and insulin resistance can cause food cravings. It can cause a person to eat more than they really need to become full. Maintaining a healthy diet and eating small meals during the day will help control those cravings.

These symptoms, while very common in hormonal imbalance, can also be attributed to other issues. It is important to see a physician to find the root cause of these problems.