6 Health Symptoms Never to Ignore
Some medical symptoms are so obvious our brains go on automatic and we know what to do. When I got hit on the head with a golf ball and the bleeding would not stop, for instance, my golfing buddy took me to the hospital for stitches. No questions asked. What do you do, however, when the symptoms are not so dramatic or obvious? True, not every ache or pain indicates it requires serious attention. We have a word for people who claim they have some serious illness attached to every twitch or gas bubble. The term is hypochondriac. Even so it is important not to discount some symptoms that take place suddenly and stay for some time. This is especially true for women whose symptoms differ from the symptoms of men and whose risk for certain diseases increases after menopause. Here is a list of my top six symptoms never to be ignored. 1. Problems with seeing, speaking or moving Difficult speaking, blurred vision or numbness or paralysis on one side are considered classic signs of a stroke. They may only last for a few minutes and are called transient ischemic attack, TIA, or mini strokes. Any one of these symptoms requires immediate emergency care especially since quick treatment usually reduces risk of brain damage. And if the problem is TIA, your doctor can give you treatment to prevent more TIAs or a more significant stroke. 2. A sudden, extremely bad headache Many women frequently suffer from headaches yet it is important not to brush them aside. Any severe headache is a potential medical emergency because it could be caused by an aneurysm, bleeding in the brain, a stroke, a brain tumor, or meningitis. Medical care is definitely called for if there is a headache following a head injury or there is a fever together with the headache. A severe headache with a seizure, rash, or double vision are also significant enough to get emergency treatment 3. Unexplained weight loss Losing weight without dieting is not as good as it sounds. Loss of appetite may indicate some medical problem such as hyperthyroidism, depression, cancer or liver disease. There may also be a problem with the way you are absorbing food. The rule of thumb is to call your doctor if you lost more than 5 percent of your weight in one month or 10 percent of your weight in 6 months without trying.It is important to pay attention to your body. Knowing the difference between how you usually respond to a cold or eating something that did not agree with you and a symptom that is not part of your norm is important as you get older. Things happen in life. Be aware and take care. 4. Unexplained change in bowel habits. I am not sure there is one description of what is normal when it comes to bowel movements. Some people move three times a day and others three times a week. Knowing what is typical for you is the place to start. However, if you have mild diarrhea that lasts more than a week, constipation that lasts more than two weeks, or unexplained and frequent urges to have a bowel movement, you should see your doctor. You should also see your doctor immediately if you have bloody stools, black or tar like looking stools. Changes in bowel habits may indicate a bacterial infection such as salmonella or a parasitic infestation. Other possible causes are inflammatory bowel disease or colon cancer. 5. Persistent or high fever The fever itself is not a disease but it is a symptom that your body is unhappy about something. Most of the time it means your body is fighting an infection, viral or bacterial. A low grade fever that is over 103 and lasts for 4 days or more should be checked out by your doctor. A persistent fever may also be caused by something as common as a urinary tract infection or even tuberculosis. A sudden high fever requires immediate attention. 6. Feeling Full after eating very little When you feel fuller than normal after eating only a small portion of food can be a sign that you have a number of gastrointestinal problems ranging from an appendix that has to come out or eating spoiled food. It also could be caused by acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome. See your doctor if this feeling continues for a few days. See your doctor sooner if you find you are also vomiting, bloating, or have a fever.