Most frequent presenting symptoms in the authors practice

The most common presenting symptoms in the author's practice 8 were identified, with the emphasis being on pain syndromes:

• disturbance of bowel function

• pain in joints/limbs

• sleep problems

• tiredness/fatigue

• vaginal discomfort

These symptoms should accurately reflect Australian general practice since the rural practice would represent an appropriate cross-section of the community's morbidity, and the recording and classification of data from the one practitioner would be consistent.

Table 1.1 Most frequent presenting problems/symptoms (excluding pregnancy, hypertension, immunisation and routine check-up)

Australia

Cough

1

1

Throat complaints

2

2

Back pain

3

4

Rash

4

5

Abdominal pain

5

6

Headache

6

10

Weakness/tiredness

7

Swelling

8

Ear pain

9

3

Fever

10

7

URTI

11

Nasal congestion/sneeze

12

12

Diarrhoea

13

Chest pain

14

United States

Foot, toe complaints Vertigo/dizziness

Visual dysfunction Knee symptoms Head cold

Source: Australian figures: Bridges-Webb et al. 5; United States figures (all specialties): De Lozier & Gagnon 6

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