Most minor aches and pains, even routine illnesses, go away on their own with time and rest.
We would be in a constant state of anxiety if we panicked about every one of life’s discomforts, and that’s no way to live! Instead, review our list of six symptoms never to ignore.
The info will give you a good baseline in terms of listening to your body and determining what it needs to heal.
Unexplained weight loss
Honestly, we would probably all like to lose some weight without even trying. Unfortunately, when that happens it’s a big red flag. Several dangerous conditions can cause this, including cancer, liver disease, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), diabetes, and depression.
If you have lost more than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) over the last six months, for no reason you can determine, it’s time to consult your doctor.
Persistent or high fever
Fevers are actually the body’s way of fighting infection, and as such, play a crucial role in healing. Unless it’s very high (over 103 F), try not to bring down a fever with medication because this short-circuits the process that kills off the infection.
However, persistent high fevers can signal a problem the body can’t fight on its own, such as tuberculosis, urinary tract infection, and even some lymphomas. Call your doctor if your temperature has persisted at or above the 103 F (39.4 C) mark for more than three days.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath occurs for many innocuous reasons – strenuous exercise, high altitude, extreme temperatures, or receiving a scare. But shortness of breath that occurs suddenly for no reason usually spells a critical medical issue.
This can include pneumonia, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism), or panic attack. It’s important to locate the cause of breathing difficulties, because breath is life.
Unexplained changes in bowel habits
Different people have widely varying bowel movements, depending on diet, genetics, and other factors.
And it’s not that unusual for individuals to experience differences in their “output” depending on what they’ve eaten recently, whether or not they’re fighting a minor illness, and how much stress they are experiencing.
But it’s vital to consult a doctor right away if you notice bloody, black, or tarry colored stools or persistent diarrhea or constipation. It could be caused by an infection, irritable bowel disease, or even cancer.
Confusion or personality changes
Lots of issues can cause confusion, mental fog, or shifts in personality. Many are very treatable, but usually won’t resolve on their own. Seek medical help if you suddenly experience poor thinking ability, difficulty focusing or sustaining attention, or behavior that is out of the ordinary for you.
These issues may be triggered by problems like infection, poor nutrition, mental health conditions, or certain medications.
Swelling in the legs
It seems counterintuitive, but swelling in the legs can be caused by heart failure. When the heart can’t properly circulate blood through the body, the result is an accumulation of blood and other fluid in the extremities.
Even worse, the heart problems can be themselves caused by a litany of other conditions, including diabetes. Other potential causes of swollen legs are vein problems and hypothyroidism.
Knowing when to worry and when to simply rest is crucial to taking proper care of your body. Stress can negatively affect the healing process. This list can help you assess the severity of your discomfort, but when in doubt, seek medical advice so as to put your mind at ease.