It is ironic that we are so concerned about our cars, jobs, relationships, clothes, and personal pleasure that we often fail to show equal concern for our health, without which we will be unable to fully enjoy any other other aspects of our lives.
There are many symptoms that we should not ignore. Certainly, and hopefully, they may not be significant, but it is never worth taking a chance. I will start with a list of symptoms that could signal a fatal heart attack or stroke. If you have any of these symptoms, you should immediately call 911 or any other emergency service.
You may be having a stroke if:
1. You feel any weakness, numbness, or paralysis in your face, arm, or leg. This is especially significant if it appears on only one side of your body.
2. You experience either decreased or blurred vision in one or both eyes that does not immediately clear when you blink.
3. You experience difficulty understanding simple statements or have difficulty speaking clearly.
4. You lose your balance of feel dizzy or you lose coordination. This is a concern for alarm, especially if other symptoms are present.
5. You experience a sudden severe headache, unlike any you have ever had before.
Even if these symptoms appear and then disappear, seek help immediately as a major stroke may be imminent.
You may be having a heart attack if:
1. You have chest pain. The pain is intense and feels like pressure on your chest. It tightens, squeezes, crushes, and burns. The pain may spread to your back, shoulder, neck, jaw, teeth, arm, or wrist.
2. You feel short of breath.
3. You feel dizzy.
4. You are nauseous and may or may not vomit.
5. You feel unusually weak.
6. You have a fast or irregular heartbeat or it feels so.
7. You are sweating unusually.
8. You faint or feel faint.
9. You feel a sense of foreboding.
It is possible that some of these symptoms may indicate something other than a heart attack, but it is never worth taking a chance.
In addition to being a symptom of heart attack, breathlessness can also indicate emphysema, lung cancer, and asthma, or allergy, all of which are potentially serious conditions, that should be dealt with immediately.
We may lose weight simply because we are eating less, or because we are going through a period of unusual stress. Unexplained weight loss can, however, be a symptom of diabetes, tumor, neurological disorder, endocrine or gastrointestinal disorder, or a psychiatric disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Watch for these symptoms in your children.
An unexplained weight loss of more than ten percent of your normal body weight or a loss that is accompanied by other symptoms such as tremors, sweating, cold sensitivity, constipation, and diarrhea, should be investigated immediately.
Ongoing Severe Fatigue
We all experience periods of fatigue but ongoing fatigue is not normal. It may indicate autoimmune disorders, thyroid disorders, heart, kidney or liver disease, severe depression, muscle or nerve diseases, tumors, and severe infection. It may also indicate that a person is suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, especially if accompanied by head and body aches. Ongoing severe fatigue may also indicate drug addiction.
We will gain weight if we eat more. We may also gain weight as we age and our metabolism begins to slow down. However, a gain in weight may indicate health problems. Unexplained weight gain may indicate diabetes, especially if it is accompanied by increased thirst. Weight gain may also indicate endocrine diseases, and heart or lung disorders. Some medications may be associated with weight gain. Unexplained weight gain should be investigated, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as swollen feet, uncontrollable hunger or thirst, hair loss, or any of the other symptoms listed in this article.
Changes In Urine
Some drugs, foods, and edible food dyes may cause changes in the color of urine. However, changes in the color of urine may signal serious health problems.
Clear dark urine can indicate liver disorders such as hepatitis or cirrhosis. Cloudy or murky normally colored urine can indicate urinary tract infections, or the presence of other bacterial infections. Cloudy pinkish, red, or light brown urine may indicate urinary tract bleeding, an enlarged prostrate, kidney infection, kidney cancer, bladder tumor, bladder stones, or tuberculosis.
Dizziness may occur during a bout of the flu or with a minor ear infection. However, dizziness that persists may indicate more serious problems. There may be problems with the blood and oxygen supply to the brain, heart and blood pressure problems, inner ear problems, and the previously dealt with possibility of stroke and heart attack.
Dizziness is considered especially serious if it interferes with your daily activities, results in fainting, or comes on with the introduction of new medications.
Intolerance To Cold
Some of us like cold and some do not. Intolerance to cold means that situations that you may have once not enjoyed but lived with, have now become difficult for you to endure. Intolerance to cold may indicate poor general health as well as poor circulation due to heart disease or diabetes. Intolerance to cold may also be a symptom of anorexia nervosa, a potentially deadly disorder.
Constant Joint Pain
Joint pain associated with unaccustomed physical exercise or work activity usually disappears with rest and perhaps a dose of over-the-counter medication. Persistent joint pain, especially accompanied by inflammation, or heat and redness at the site, may indicate arthritis, or osteoarthritis. These conditions are most manageable when dealt with immediately. The condition may be more serious if it is accompanied by weight loss and fever.
Indigestion may be associated with the foods we consume or the beverages we choose to drink. This indigestion is usually relieved within an hour or so with over-the-counter antacids. However, persistent, long-lasting indigestion may be an indication of ulcers, gallbladder inflammation, or inflammation of the stomach lining.
If the indigestion lasts more than six hours or is accompanied by any other symptoms listed in this article it may indicate a heart attack. Seek medical help immediately.
It is wise to contact your physician if you notice any changes to your skin such as any rashes, bumps on or under the skin, bleeding moles, blemishes that fail to heal, moles that develop ragged edges or are asymmetrical, new moles that appear, or moles that change in size, or color.
It is wise to periodically inspect the hard to see areas of your skin for abnormalities.
Almost everyone gets headaches now and then. Most are merely annoying and are of little significance. Severe, long lasting, or repetitive headaches, that are not normal for you, should be investigated. You should seek immediate medical assistance if you experience a sudden or violent headache, if the headache is accompanied by slurred speech, blurred vision, fever, or a stiff neck. Such symptoms may indicate a brain aneurysm, stroke, bleeding in the brain, brain tumor, or meningitis.
Finding a lump on the breast is a fearful experience for anyone. It is encouraging to note that almost seventy-five percent of lumps are benign. It is vital that all lumps and swellings, especially those near the armpit and shoulder, be investigated to rule out or deal with the possibility of cancer.
Mammograms can find much smaller lumps than can be found by manual breast examination.
Temporary inability to taste or changes in the sensation of taste cam be due to some medications, smoking, flue, colds, and other minor infections. Long lasting changes however can be the symptom of strep throat or other autoimmune disorders.
There are many other symptoms that can indicate major or minor health problems. If you have any symptoms that trouble you, discuss these with your family physician. An annual physical exam can often uncover minor health problems before they become major ones.