Our body is a genius and can be our best source of information if we can start to learn the language – millions of bits of information every second that our wonderful gut, brain, and immune systems do the work of processing and integrating to keep us well informed. Yet at some point most of us stop listening to our bodies.
Why do we stop listening to our bodies?
Not recognizing that our body is telling us something important
Not trusting what our body is telling us
Being too busy to listen or respond to the messages
Not wanting to hear the truth about what our body is telling us
Below is the list of signs and symptoms that merit attention.
Unexplained weight loss
Losing weight without trying might sound like a dream come true, but in reality it can signal a health problem. If you’re notobese and you’ve lost more than 10 percent of your body weight during the past six months – for instance, 15 pounds (7 kilograms) if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms) – consult your doctor. An unexplained drop in weight could be caused by various conditions – including overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), diabetes, depression, liver disease, cancer or disorders that interfere with how your body absorbs nutrients (malabsorption disorders).
Persistent or high fever
A fever isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. Fever seems to play a key role in fighting infection. Persistent fever can signal a hidden infection, which could be anything from a urinary tract infection to tuberculosis. In some cases, cancerous (malignant) conditions – such as lymphomas – cause prolonged or persistent fevers, as can some medications. Call your doctor if your temperature is 103 F (39.4 C) or higher or you’ve had a fever for more than three days.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath could signal an underlying health problem. Very strenuous exercise, extreme temperatures, massive obesityand high altitude all can cause shortness of breath. Outside of these examples, shortness of breath is likely a sign of a medical problem. If you have unexplained shortness of breath, especially if it comes on suddenly and is severe, seek emergency medical care. Causes for breathlessness might include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism), as well as other heart and lung problems. Difficulty breathing can also occur with a panic attack – a sudden episode of intense anxiety that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.
Unexplained changes in bowel habits
What’s considered normal for bowel movements varies widely. Consult your doctor if you notice unusual or unexplained changes in what’s normal for you, such as, Bloody, black or tarry-colored stools
Persistent diarrhea or constipation,Unexplained urges to have a bowel movement,Changes in bowel habits could signal a bacterial infection – such as campylobacter or salmonella – or a viral or parasitic infection. Other possible causes include irritable bowel disease and colon cancer.
Confusion or personality changes
Seek medical attention if you have sudden poor thinking skills, difficulty focusing, sustaining or shifting attention, behavior changes.These changes could be caused by many problems, including infection, poor nutrition, mental health conditions or medications.
Feeling full after eating very little
If you consistently feel full sooner than normal or after eating less than usual, get checked by your doctor. This feeling, known as early satiety, also might be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, bloating or weight loss. If so, be sure to tell your doctor about these signs and symptoms as well. Possible causes of early satiety include gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, and peptic ulcers. In some cases, a more serious problem – such as pancreatic cancer – could be a factor.
Flashes of light
Bright spots or flashes of light sometimes indicate a migraine. In other cases, sudden flashes of light could signal retinal detachment. Immediate medical care can help prevent permanent vision loss.
Itchy, blistery Skin rash
This reaction, which breaks out on the elbows, knees, butt, back, or scalp, may look suspiciously like eczema, but it could be a more serious issue: celiac disease, an autoimmune condition in which ingesting even the tiniest amount of gluten causes your body to attack its own intestines. Up to 25 percent of people with celiac have this rash, known as dermatitis herpetiformis. Many patients have no digestive symptoms. When someone with celiac consumes gluten, the body releases an antibody known as IgA, which attacks the intestines; sometimes IgA also collects in small blood vessels underneath the skin, triggering the telltale rash.
Changes in handwriting
When you think of Parkinson’s, you probably think of tremors, but a more telling early Parkinson’s warning sign is handwriting that gets much smaller. Handwriting analysis identified patients in early stages more than 97 percent of the time, a 2013 Israeli study found. “I have patients write a sentence such as ‘Today is a nice day ten times,’” says Michael S. Okun, MD, national medical director for the National Parkinson Foundation. “As they write, each sentence gets smaller and smaller, and the words become more crowded together.” Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells in the brain become damaged or die off. They stop producing as much dopamine, a chemical that sends signals to produce movement; this causes muscle stiffness in hands and fingers, which affects handwriting.
It’s a commonly known symptom of sleep apnea, which is associated with increased heart disease risk. Snoring may damage the carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain. “We think the arteries are reacting to the vibration of the snoring, since they’re very close to the throat,” says study author Kathleen Yaremchuk, MD, chair of the Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.