I have a confession. In the past, I almost never went to see my doctor as an adult. I always thought I would just be healthy forever. Got a head cold? “Hey, I’ll get over it!” Catch the flu? “I’ll just drink lots of soup and take it easy.” Found a rash? “Just wash it and be sure it doesn’t spread.” …Until I had kids! As soon as I found myself responsible for someone else’s life, my attitude changed 100%! These signs are important and can mean that something much more sinister is lurking ahead. Learn to spot them early and you’ll be happier and healthier! Me? Well, I just might live forever. Who knows!
1. Rapid weight loss!
If you aren’t actively dieting and exercising, a sudden drop in weight can be a sign that something is wrong. Your body is trying to tell you something, so listen! Go to your doctor and talk about the changes that you’re seeing. They will be able to run tests and find out if you are at risk for serious issues like hyperthyroidism, diabetes, liver disease, and more. Dropping 15 to 20 pounds in only a few months is not normal if you aren’t sure of the cause!
2. High fever!
The human body has a resting temperature of 98.6°F, or 37°C and might fluctuate within a degree depending on the weather and your daily activities. When you start to feel hot suddenly or with no real explanation, check your temperature! If it spikes higher than 103 F (or 39.4 C) for more than 2 days in a row, see a doctor! This warning sign is usually a message from our body that it is fighting off some form of infection, and you may need the help of antibiotics.
3. Breathing trouble!
Shortness of breath can be caused my several factors: heavy exercise, high or low temperatures, a high altitude, obesity, sudden anxiety attacks, or just by going up and down several flights of stairs (okay, that one might be just for me). However, if you suddenly find yourself short of breath without any obvious reason, you need to get medical help! This symptom could be a sign of bronchitis, pneumonia, or a blood clot. See your physician to talk about this issue!
4. Strange bowel movements!
Hey, no one really likes to talk about this, and I get it! But this is an easy way to be sure that “the engine is running smoothly” as my dad used to say. In other words, you can quickly tell if something is wrong by sudden changes in your stool. What’s “normal” can vary from person to person, but the basic advice stays the same. If you suddenly find yourself with constant diarrhea, constant constipation, more frequent movements, or even black or bloody stool, this is a sign that something might be wrong with your intestinal tract! An infection may have reached your excretory system, so be sure to tell your doctor…
5. Sudden personality changes!
This one can be harder to realize, but it is still just as important as any physical signs. Your mental health is very important, and if you or someone close to you notices changes in your personality, you should see a doctor as soon as possible! This can vary from changes in your attention to sudden changes in your mood, or even a loss of interest in things that were once very important to you. Stay healthy both physically and mentally!
6. Seeing random flashes of light!
Any changes in your vision are something that you should get checked out. You should have vision exams once per year to stay ahead of any problems that may develop, but if you start seeing flashes of light, “spots” floating in your vision, or a sudden change in your prescription, don’t wait for that annual check-up! Get yourself to an eye doctor and let them know about your concerns. Loss of sight is something that no one should ever have to go through, so don’t ignore these signs if you experience them!
I haven’t experienced any of these warning signs for myself just yet (aside from a random fever or two), but I am prepared to see my doctor if these symptoms ever pop up in my day to day life. If I have a condition that can be prevented by a simple visit to a doctor, I would rather be safe than sorry! Share this list with your friends and family and stay healthy!
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