When evaluating your health, certain conditions grab your attention and leave no room for doubt that you are in trouble. Wheezing, chest pain, and bloody diarrhea are symptoms of illness that you are not likely to overlook. However, there are more subtle signs of poor health that may be easier to ignore or discount. While these symptoms may not be as attention-grabbing as others, they still give you clues that it is time to check in with your doctor.
15. Changes in Your Fingernails
Your fingernails do more than just help you look pretty or open envelopes with ease. Certain medical conditions may show up in nail discoloration, deformity, or weakness. Horizontal ridges across your nails may be an indication of thyroid disease. The Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center states that yellowing nails may indicate lymphatic disease, autoimmune disorders, or certain types of cancer. Meanwhile, spoon nails, in which the nails lift up from the nail bed to form little cups, may be a sign of iron deficiency, hypothyroidism, or heart disease.
You may think indigestion only occurs when you overindulge or consume questionable food items. Indigestion may be your body’s way of warning you that you are eating too quickly, overindulging in alcohol, or subjecting yourself to too much stress. Chronic indigestion may also be an indication of a serious underlying health issue. Indigestion accompanied by cramps, stomach pain, and bloating may be a sign of digestive ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or gallbladder disease. Pancreatitis, hypothyroidism, and pregnancy are other health conditions that may show up as indigestion.
13. Fungal Infections
Frequent fungal infections may be a sign of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, persons with diabetes are susceptible to infections with Candida albicans. This red, itchy rash may show up in your armpits, groin, between your fingers or toes, or under the breasts. Jock itch, athlete’s foot, ringworm, and vaginal yeast infections are other fungal infections that diabetic patients may suffer.
12. Bad Breath
If you have bad breath despite faithful tooth brushing, flossing, and brushing the surface of your tongue, gum disease may be the culprit. The American Academy of Periodontology asserts that gum disease may increase your risk of heart disease. Therefore, it is critical to prevent gum disease before it gets out of hand. Irritated and inflamed gums can progress to tooth sensitivity, receding gums, and bone loss, which are a result of periodontal disease. Other warning signs of gum disease include swollen gums, gums that bleed easily, and teeth that shift or become loose.
11. Weight Loss
While many of us dedicate many hours at the gym and mental focus to counting calories, others may find they are undergoing unexpected weight loss. Unfortunately, unexplained weight loss may be an indicator of underlying health problems. The Mayo Clinic provides a long list of health disorders that may result in unexplained weight loss. Examples of these conditions include Addison’s disease, diabetes, depression, heart failure, thyroid disorders, and Parkinson’s disease. Make an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause if you find you are unintentionally losing weight.
10. Swollen Ankles
Swollen ankles may be an indication of heart disease or circulatory problems. A blood clot in the leg, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), may cause swelling. The added danger of DVT is that the clot may break free and travel through the bloodstream to lodge elsewhere. A pulmonary embolism refers to a blood clot that becomes lodged in the lungs, blocking airflow. Meanwhile, a clot that travels to the brain can cause a stroke.
Snoring may disrupt your sleep and aggravate your bed partner. However, snoring may be more than just a minor inconvenience. Allergies may cause snoring as inflamed nasal tissues swell and block the airway during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in which enlarged tissues at the base of the throat interfere with breathing, may be linked to heart disease. You can take steps to decrease your risk of snoring or OSA by losing excess weight, avoiding alcohol within two hours of bedtime, and treating allergy symptoms.
8. Peeing Frequently in the Night
Frequent urination, including during the nighttime hours, may be a symptom of diabetes or other medical conditions. Nocturia is the medical term for frequently waking up in the night to urinate. The Cleveland Clinic lists several medical issues that may cause nocturia. They include congestive heart failure, sleeping disorders such as OSA, and untreated diabetes. Certain medications may also cause nocturia. Diuretics, lithium, and phenytoin are examples of drugs that may increase your need to urinate. Since a good night’s sleep is crucial to good health, you should speak with your doctor if you are suffering from this problem.
If you are feeling blue, listless, or uninterested in formerly engaging activities, you may feel you should be able to pull yourself together and shake off your gloomy feelings. However, depression is a treatable condition that may be triggered by other medical disorders. An article in Current Psychiatry suggests that depression may be caused by medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or Lyme disease. Whether your depression is triggered by disease, life situations, or an imbalance of brain chemicals, you need not suffer in silence. Speak with your physician to obtain the help you need to regain joy in your life.
6. Dry Hair or Skin
Dry hair or skin may be signs of a nutritional deficiency. To keep your hair strong and your skin supple, be sure to include healthy fats in your diet. Sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and salmon. Spinach, broccoli, and sweet red peppers contain vitamins A and C, which promote good skin health by reducing inflammation and boosting collagen. Medical conditions such as hypoparathyroidism or hypothyroidism may also cause your hair to become brittle and your skin to become dry.
5. Temperature Sensitivity
Temperature sensitivity refers to being hypersensitive to cold or hot temperatures. If you suddenly find you are abnormally uncomfortable in hot weather or overwhelmingly chilled in cold temperatures, you may be suffering heat or cold intolerance. This condition may be an indication of an underactive or overactive thyroid gland.
4. Hot Flashes
It is common for women experiencing menopause to encounter uncomfortable episodes of hot flashes and night sweats. However, an article published in Menopause suggests women who experience hot flashes have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. It may be wise to take hot flashes as a warning to introduce lifestyle measures that decrease your risk of diabetes. These include losing excess weight, engaging in regular exercise, and consuming a healthy diet low in added sugar.
3. Increased Sweating
Heavy sweating unrelated to vigorous exercise or warm temperatures may be an indication of heart disease. Diabetic patients may experience excessive sweating when their insulin or diabetic medications cause blood sugar levels to drop too far. Furthermore, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America indicate that fever and night sweats may be symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Your physician may determine that your excessive sweating is not caused by an underlying medical disorder. If so, hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, may respond to treatment with antiperspirants, Botox, or anticholinergic medications.
2. Poor Night Vision
You may assume that increased difficulty seeing at night is a normal byproduct of aging. However, difficulty seeing at night is not only dangerous for nighttime driving, but it may also indicate a more serious eye condition. The American Academy of Ophthalmology lists cataracts, Fuchs’ dystrophy, nystagmus, and retinitis pigmentosa as eye disorders that may interfere with night vision.
1. Increased Thirst
In general, it is wise to drink water when you are thirsty and stop when you feel satisfied. Polydipsia is a condition in which you find you are excessively thirsty and normal quantities of water do not slake your thirst. This condition may be a symptom of diabetes mellitus, diabetic ketoacidosis, or diabetes insipidus.