Many of us are so insanely busy that we often let our health fall by the wayside. We trudge around with our allergies raging, or put off fixing a toothache until we can "get around to it." But there are some health symptoms you should never ignore, and "getting around to it" simply won't cut it.
Putting things off when it comes to our health has become a normal thing in society. It's almost like we praise stoicism and the ability to work through the pain. How many times have you seen a coworker drag herself into the office even though she's incredibly sick? And how many times have you seen a friend try to "walk it off" when they've obviously sprained their ankle? Probably too many times to count.
I'm sure this all has something to do with healthcare costs and people's lack of desire for huge, whopping medical bills. I totally understand that. But the stoicism thing is just no good when it comes to more serious health issues. If you think something is seriously wrong with you, don't put it off another day! Take care of yourself first, and deal with the repercussions and copays after you get a clean bill of health.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to pay attention to, but it's a good start for those of you wondering what symptoms are worth worrying about.
1. Unexplained Weight Loss
You may dismiss this as nothing when you first notice it, but any kind of unexpected weight loss can be a sign of a health problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you're not obese and you've lost more than 10 percent of your body weight — such as 15 pounds if you weigh 150 pounds — during the last six months, you should go see your doctor. It could be a sign of an overactive thyroid, depression, diabetes, liver disease, or cancer. Even if you don't mind that you've lost weight, do go get yourself a check up just to be sure everything is OK.
2. The Worst Headache You've Ever Had
Many of us get tension headaches, and they can be a real pain, both literally and in the sense that it's just annoying. But any kind of headache that's so bad you can't get out of bed could be a sign of a more serious issue. It could just be a cold or flu that's causing an intense sinus headache, but it could also be a brain hemorrhage or a tumor, according to WebMD. It's not worth waiting around to find out, so get yourself over to the emergency room ASAP.
3. A Fever That Won't Go Away
A fever means your body is trying to fight off an infection, so it's generally not a sign of anything too horrible. But if it's sticking around for days on end, it could be a sign that you have a hidden infection like a urinary tract infection (UTI) or tuberculosis. Persistent fevers can also sometimes be a sign of cancer, like lymphoma, according to the Mayo Clinic. Go to the doctor if your fever is over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, or if you've had it for more than three days.
4. Shortness Of Breath
If you're going about your day and become struck with shortness of breath that is incredibly unusual for you, don't laugh it off. It could be a sign of something serious like bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, or a blood clot in your lung, according to WebMD. Of course, it's normal to be out of breath when you work out, or when you're at a high altitude, but pretty much any other time is cause for concern.
5. Constant Snoring
Snoring may seem totally benign, but if you've been feeling tired lately or if your SO has been elbowing you at 2 a.m. a little more than usual, your snoring may be a sign of a more serious issue called sleep apnea. If this is the case, you'll be snoring every night with moments of snorting or gasping, according to an article by Linda Melone, CSCS, for Prevention. You'll also feel extra tired throughout the day due to not getting a good night's sleep (either from the snoring or the elbowing). Sleep apnea can lead to heart problems, such as high blood pressure, so don't let it go unchecked.
6. That Weird Mole
Most freckles are just that... freckles. But any spot on your skin that looks different is something you should have evaluated. Be on the look out for darker spots that have an irregular appearance, as these can be a sign of skin cancer. Other signs of melanoma include a scalloped or jagged border, multiple colors, itchiness, pain, or changes in color, according to Prevention. The sooner you have your freckle looked at, the better.
There's no need to worry over every little twinge and ache in your body, but do keep an eye out for the more serious signs of illnesses that shouldn't be left unchecked.
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