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10 Seemingly Innocent Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

Too often, patients brush off seemingly benign symptoms that could signal something serious. If any of these 10 issues strike you, don’t wait until it’s too late to seek medical attention:

Here are a set of symptoms that seem harmless but can signal the onset of some major disease.

1. Extreme Fatigue

Unexplained fatigue, one that is not caused due to exertion and which is experienced doing something as simple as climbing stairs or lifting your bag may mean something serious. If you are feeling dull and weak for more than 2 weeks, consult a doctor. Extreme fatigue can be one of the symptoms of depression, sleep apnea, heart disease, or even lung cancer.

2. Change in Bowel Movements

Everyone has a different pattern for bowel movements from going once a day to even 3x a week. But if you observe a change in the bowel movement patterns that include constipation, diarrhea, bloating along with blood in the stool, black tarry stools, you need to consult a doctor. The causes can be bacterial or viral infection to inflammatory bowel and at worst- cancer.

3. Surprise Weight Loss

At first, sliding more easily into your skinny jeans may come as a pleasant surprise. But losing 10 pounds or more for no clear reason – you haven’t, for instance, taken your fitness regimen up a notch, started a newly diligent diet, tamed your cravings by sleeping more, or even lost your appetite due to stress – can be the first sign of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Cancers of the pancreas, esophagus, stomach, and lung are most often linked to unexplained weight loss.

4. Painful Periods

If that time of the month is excruciatingly painful, you plow through super-size tampons like nobody's business or your flow is woefully unpredictable, consider it a red flag. Conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome – top causes of infertility – could be to blame. Fibroids, noncancerous tumors in the uterus, or even pregnancy might also be culprits. Any changes in your cycle, for that matter, warrant a trip to the gynecologist.

5. Severe Headache

We are not talking about the headache that comes due to stress or colds or even hangovers. This headache may seem to be the worst headache of your life. If you experience sudden headaches along with a stiff neck, confusion, and seizure it can be arthritis or inflammation of arteries of the scalp or it may also be something as serious as a brain tumor. If you get chronic headaches your blood pressure may be very high too. So don’t ignore headaches and consult a doctor if they seem unusual or persist for many days.

6. Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath can be caused due to a reason as harmless as a blocked nose but if you feel shortness of breath when you are not exerting or when you are lying down, it may be something serious. The causes can be asthma, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. If you are gasping for air and if breathing seems very difficult it can also be a clot in the lung or even problems with the heart!

7. Numbness in One Side of Your Body

Feeling numb in one side of the body is nothing to joke about. But remember that this numbness is different than your arm falling asleep when you sleep on one side. Numbness in one part of the body especially on the face may be due to a transient ischemic attack or TIA. TIA is known as ‘mini stroke’ and goes away without harm but you need to take it seriously because it is one of the warning signals of stroke and 20% of patients get a stroke attack within 90 days of getting TIA.

8. Frequent Fevers

Fevers are nothing to worry about most of the time, as it means the body’s defense system is fighting an infection but when you have a low-grade fever (over 102 F) for a long time or have a high temperature (104 F), you need to see a doctor.

Persistent fevers can be due to a hidden infection or urinary tract infections, tuberculosis, and even lymphomas or tumor of the lymph nodes.

9. Blood in the Urine or Stool

Blood in the urine can be due to harmless reasons but should be taken seriously; it can be due to kidney cancers, bladder cancer, and even kidney failure. A burning sensation during passing urine generally however only means urinary tract infection which can be solved easily.

Blood in the stool generally may mean hemorrhoids and even colon cancer.

10. Swelling in Legs and Pain in Joints

Swelling in legs and joints is normally ignored, but if you notice swelling in one leg after sitting for a long time it can be due to a blood clot. And if you notice swelling in both legs, it can be due to liver disease or kidney disorder.

Similarly, the common pain in the joint may be due to arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis which would require active treatment.

These small, harmless symptoms are often the warning signs of something more serious. If we pay attention to these signals that our body is sending us, we would save precious time between diagnosis and treatment, saving lives!

Give RCB & Associates, LLC a call to review your Health Insurance and other plans and compare your options, 616-233-9050.

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