No one feels like they’re in perfect health all the time. It’s not uncommon for people to feel a bit under the weather even if they can’t quite put their finger on exactly what’s wrong. Sometimes, though, symptoms that seem harmless can actually be warning signs that something is seriously wrong. If you’re experiencing any of the following 10 seemingly innocent symptoms, don’t ignore them. They may be signaling a dangerous underlying illness that requires treatment as soon as possible.
1) Persistent Fatigue
Everyone feels tired and generally run down at times. That’s particularly true after a long day at work or an exhausting spring cleaning session. Having a sleepless night here and there can certainly leave you worn out as well. You shouldn’t be feeling sick and tired all the time, though. If fatigue is getting you down and not showing any signs of releasing its grip, consider visiting your doctor.
Relentless fatigue can be a sign of several medical conditions. Those include anemia, adrenal disorders, hypothyroidism, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Some additional illnesses that cause persistent fatigue are chronic kidney disease, hepatitis, depression, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. It can be a warning sign of cancer as well. Those are only a few of the possibilities.
2) Unexpected Weight Changes
Unexpected weight changes can also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions. That’s particularly true with drastic weight loss. Losing a great deal of weight in a short time may seem like a nice surprise, especially if you’re not really trying. After all, how many people out there cut calories to the point of starving themselves and spend endless hours exercising only to find that their extra pounds just won’t budge?
Although unexpected weight loss sounds great, it’s often a warning sign of medical issues. Diabetes, depression, and overactive thyroid are some of the most common. Low blood sodium levels, high blood calcium levels, and Parkinson’s disease fall into this category as well.
3) Frequent Headaches
Headaches aren’t uncommon. Everyone has them from time to time though some are more severe than others. Still, if you’re having frequent headaches, that could be a sign of trouble. If those headaches are severe, they’re even more cause for concern. In some cases, frequent headaches are a sign of something simple, like tension. That can easily be remedied through massage, dietary changes, or other simple measures.
Other times, severe recurring headaches are symptoms of deeper issues. You may be experiencing migraines, or they could be caused by inflammation or infections. If the pain is concentrated on one side of your head, you may be having cluster headaches. Thunderclap headaches, or those that arise suddenly and are severely painful, are often warning signs of an aneurysm. Don’t write off frequent headaches; talk to your doctor about them.
4) Changes in Bowel Movements
Ongoing changes in bowel movements may not simply be an indication that you’re not eating right. Diarrhea, constipation, or bloody stool may be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, or colorectal cancer. Digestive issues tend to happen at times, but if they become persistent and are accompanied by significant bloating and abdominal pain, they’re not normal.
5) Chronic Joint Pain
If you’re experiencing chronic joint pain, don’t chalk it up to overuse or a sprain or strain. Time and taking it easy may not remedy the situation. This is often a sign of arthritis, lupus, or other autoimmune diseases. These conditions are caused by inflammation in the joints, and they won’t go away on their own.
6) Skin Changes and Hair Changes
Unexpected changes in your skin or hair can point to underlying medical conditions as well. Ongoing skin dryness, rashes, discoloration, sores, boils, scaliness, and changing moles are warning signs of several illnesses. They can be symptoms of psoriasis, eczema, or skin cancer. If your hair becomes dry and brittle, it could be an indication of malnutrition, a thyroid disorder, or a hormonal imbalance.
7) Frequent Urination
Frequent urination isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re taking in too much fluid. That, too, may mean you’re suffering from a serious medical condition. Diabetes, enlarged prostate, kidney disease, and interstitial cystitis are some of the most common culprits.
8) Shortness of Breath
People often experience shortness of breath when they’ve been working hard or exercising vigorously. Running, or even carrying a heavy load up a flight of stairs can leave you out of breath. If you’re dealing frequently feeling winded without an obvious explanation, though, it could be caused by an underlying illness. Respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD are often to blame. Anxiety can cause shortness of breath as well. It can be a sign of congestive heart failure, angina, or mesothelioma too.
9) Persistent Cough
Coughs are also symptoms that people ignore all too often. They come along with several run-of-the-mill illnesses, like the common cold, the flu, bronchitis, and allergies. If a cough doesn’t go away or at least start to taper off within a few weeks of being sick, though, it could be an indication of a serious respiratory infection, emphysema, asthma, or lung cancer.
10) Vision Changes
You shouldn’t leave vision changes unchecked, either. Millions of people live with farsightedness, nearsightedness, presbyopia, and other vision conditions that make the world blurrier than it should be. Sudden changes may be signs of dangerous underlying conditions, though. If you notice your vision is suddenly blurrier than usual or you start seeing flashes of light, halos, or gray clouds creeping into your periphery, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Those may be signs of migraines, glaucoma, eye infections, extremely high blood pressure, pending stroke, or brain hemorrhage among other issues.
Keeping Yourself in Optimal Health
Everyone feels sick, tired, and out of sorts on occasion. Beyond that, unexpected and downright frightening symptoms sometimes crop up out of nowhere. Then, they disappear as quickly as they arose. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above and they don’t seem to be going away on their own, though, they could indicate a dangerous underlying medical condition. Don’t leave issues like these to their own devices. Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.