Do not ignore important signs and symptoms from sudden weight loss to flashes of light and know when to seek medical care.
Chest pain, an upset stomach sudden loss of vision or speech, and severe abdominal pain require immediate medical attention but what about more signs that are more subtle in nature? We may not know what to do. Here’s a list of seven signs and symptoms that demand attention for maintaining a healthy life.
1. Unexplained weight loss
If you are losing weight without trying might sound like a dream come true, but in reality it can signal an underlying health problem. If you’ve lost up to 10 percent of your weight during the past six months for instance, 15 pounds if you weigh 150 pounds it is time to go see your doctor immediately.
An unexplained drop in weight could be caused by various conditions including overactive thyroid, diabetes, depression, liver disease, cancer or disorders that interfere with how your body absorbs nutrients.
2. Persistent or high fever
A fever always isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. Fever seems to play a key role in fighting infection. Having said that, if your fever has continued for more than three days, get checked by your doctor. Persistent fever can signal a hidden infection, which could be anything from a urinary tract infection to tuberculosis. In some cases, cancerous conditions such as lymphomas cause prolonged or persistent fevers, as can some medications.
If you have a high fever 103 F or higher consult your doctor as soon as possible.
3. Shortness of breath
If you are unable to get your breath, or you’re gasping for air or wheezing, seek emergency medical attention. Shortness of breath that feels more severe than what’s caused by a stuffy nose or vigorous physical activity could signal an underlying health problem. Feeling breathless when lying down also is a symptom that needs to be evaluated promptly.
4. Unexplained changes in bowel habits
What’s considered normal for bowel movements varies widely? Consult your doctor if you notice unusual or unexplained changes in what’s normal for you, such as:
• Bloody, black or tarry-colored stools
• Persistent diarrhea or constipation
5. Confusion or personality changes
Seek medical attention if you have:
• Sudden confused thinking
• Confusion about time or place
• Sudden problems with concentration or memory
• Sudden personality or behavior changes, such as becoming aggressive
Changes in behavior or thinking could be caused by many problems, including infection, anemia, low blood sugar, dehydration or mental health conditions. Sometimes medications contribute to confusion or personality changes.
6. Feeling full after very little
If you consistently feel full sooner than normal or after eating less than usual, get checked by your doctor. This feeling, known as early satiety, also may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blotting, fever and weight loss or gain. If so be sure to tell your doctor about these signs and symptoms as well.
7. Flashes of light
Bright spots or flashes of light and other visual disturbances sometimes indicate a migraine. In other cases, sudden flashing lights could signal retinal detachment. Immediate medical care can help prevent vision loss.