The delay in seeking medical care, when patients experience specific symptoms, is influenced by a range of demographic, psychological, social, cognitive and religious factors such as gender, family status, age, symptom severity, previous experiences, psychological mood, perceptions towards diseases, attitudes and fears towards illness, social networks and religious beliefs. The patient’s cognitive level appears to play a significant role in his/her decision to seek for medical care. Health professionals constitute a particular group which requires special attention. The aim of the present literature review is to highlight the factors which affect the patient’s decision to seek for or to delay seeking medical help and to offer suggestions in order to limit this delay.
Key Words: Cognitive level, gender, health perceptions, health professionals, medical care