Sometimes, we instantly know that something isn’t right with our bodies.
For example, it’s obvious that someone with sudden, severe chest pain needs to go to the emergency room right away, and we all know that heavy bleeding needs to be stopped as soon as possible.
However, it’s important that you pay attention to subtle changes too.
You might be able to ignore them for weeks or even months, but they might signal an underlying health problem.
Here are 14 symptoms that warrant a trip to the doctor:
1. You feel tired all the time.
Excessive tiredness can be a symptom of numerous medical conditions including depression, thyroid dysfunction, sleep apnoea, and diabetes to name just a few.
2. You’re lost or gained weight for no obvious reason.
Unless you’ve made deliberate changes to your diet, a loss or gain of more than a few pounds isn’t a positive sign.
Weight loss is particularly concerning, as it may point to malabsorption, diabetes, cancer, depression, and other serious illnesses.
3. You are having panic attacks.
These are a classic sign of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Some people just get occasional attacks during particularly busy periods in their lives, but panic attacks can also signal a more serious mental illness.
In addition, some of the physical symptoms (for example, dizziness and trembling) can be associated with other conditions such as hypoglycaemia.
4. You notice a strange, new rash on your skin.
The skin is the largest organ in the body, and highly sensitive to both internal and environmental changes.
New lesions and rashes that don’t go away within a couple of days should be checked out by a doctor.
Allergies, eczema, and fungal infections are just three conditions that often require prompt treatment.
5. You have a cough that lingers for weeks.
Unless you happen to have a diagnosed allergy or other benign condition, you must not ignore a cough.
It may be a symptom of a serious problem such as lung cancer or tuberculosis.
6. You’ve noticed changes to your bladder or bowel habits.
Symptoms such as constipation, pain upon urination, and bleeding from the rectum need to be checked out.
They can be caused by a number of conditions including Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), bowel cancer, digestive disorders, and ovarian cancer.
7. You’ve started snoring.
This is a classic sign of sleep apnoea, a condition whereby your airways become narrower during sleep.
Sleep apnoea leaves you feeling tired during the day and can also increase your risk of other conditions such as heart disease.
8. You think – or know – that you’ve gotten shorter.
Losing height is a classic sign of osteoporosis, a condition in which a person’s bones start to degenerate.
You are at elevated risk of breaks and permanent bone damage unless you seek prompt treatment.
9. You have cracked lips.
It’s normal to get chapped lips from time to time, but if yours are often cracked or even bleeding, you may have a vitamin deficiency.
For instance, cracked skin at the sides of the mouth (known as “angular chelitis”) is associated with zinc and B vitamins.
10. You always seem to have a cold or other type of infection.
Do you feel permanently unwell?
This is a sign that your immune system isn’t working very well.
This may be due to high stress, poor nutrition, or sleep disorders.
11. Your vision has started to blur.
See a doctor or optician immediately if you notice this symptom.
It can be a sign of diabetes, migraines, multiple sclerosis, and many other conditions.
12. You are carrying fat around your waist.
It isn’t just how much body fat you have that determines your health, but where you store it.
Research has shown that carrying excess fat around your waist (i.e. having an apple-shaped body) is more dangerous that carrying it in your bottom and thighs, as it raises your risk of heart disease.
Excess abdominal fat also points to high levels of stress.
13. You get frequent headaches or migraines.
Some people are just more prone to headaches and migraines than others for no discernible reason.
However, if you’ve noticed that you are getting them more often, it’s time to have them checked out.
You may be suffering from depression, a brain tumor or another medical condition that requires urgent treatment.
14. Your hands or feet are always cold.
Icy hands or feet can signal circulation disorders, heart problems, or diseases of the nervous system. They can even be associated with panic attacks!
Don’t delay if you notice any of these symptoms
they can be early warning signs of a serious health problem. The sooner you address the problem, the quicker you can return to full health.