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15 Health Symptoms We Should Never Ignore

“Listen to your body” is a familiar refrain we hear from health professionals, but do we genuinely grasp its significance?

Staying tuned to the signals our bodies send is crucial for maintaining optimal health. They are often quite subtle and require taking the time to pause and consider the underlying causes of changes in our physical or mental health.

A forum user asked, “What health symptoms should we never ignore?” Here’s a comprehensive compilation of signs and symptoms requiring immediate consultation with a healthcare professional.

1. Unintentional Weight Loss

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Maintaining a healthy weight is often associated with good overall health. However, losing weight without trying can be an early warning sign of an underlying health condition ranging from mild to severe, including thyroid imbalances and digestive health concerns.

When weight loss becomes easy and sudden, it is definitely time to tell your primary care physician. They’ll likely ask you many questions and run some preliminary health screens.

2. Throbbing Pain in the Lower Right Abdomen

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Not only is the pain unbearable, but it can also indicate that something serious is in play. Many organs in this region of the body, such as the appendix and gall bladder, could be contributing to this type of pain.

Ignoring throbbing sudden pain is never a good idea. Talk to a doctor right away so they can determine the underlying cause.

3. Post Menopausal Vaginal Bleeding 

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Most of the time, any vaginal bleeding that occurs after menopause is considered abnormal and should never be ignored. Causes can range from vaginal atrophy (thinning of the muscle walls) to cancer, making it important to voice concerns with an obstetrician sooner than later.

4. Chest Pain 

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While chest pain can have various causes, some may be life-threatening and require urgent medical attention. If the pain worsens with exercise, this is a red flag that blood flow to the heart may be compromised.

Chest pain can be from a muscle strain, anxiety, or something much more sinister like a heart attack. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek help immediately.

5. Night Sweats Accompanied By Other Unusual Symptoms

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Constitutional symptoms such as unexpected night sweats, fever, and chills can be indicative of a variety of health issues ranging from infections to hormonal imbalances. If these symptoms occur alongside other concerning changes in your body or mental status, it’s best to see a doctor for further evaluation.

A user shared, “Just night sweats? Probably nothing. But in conjunction with unexplained weight loss, persistent fatigue, fevers, etc., it is part of a constellation of symptoms commonly referred to as “B symptoms,” which may be a sign of lymphoma.”

6. Swollen Feet

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Swollen feet are usually not problematic after long-standing or excessive physical activity. However, when the swelling becomes persistent or worsens over time, it may cause concern. Regardless of the underlying cause, the body is clearly struggling with properly reabsorbing fluids.

A doctor commented, “Worsening swollen feet. It could be either a nephrotic [kidnay]/cardio/liver problem. If it’s a kidney or liver problem, not so much of an acute emergency. But what if it’s cardio? Congestive heart failure is no joke.”

7. Facial Droop and Slurred Speech

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This symptom is perhaps one of the most critical signs that one should never ignore— it could indicate an ongoing stroke. Every second counts with a stroke for preserving brain health and function.

It is important to seek immediate medical attention and remember the acronym FAST: Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulties, Time to call 911.

8. Coughing Up Blood

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Coughing up blood, or hemoptysis, can stem from various causes, ranging from minor to more serious conditions. These include bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and even cancer.

It is essential to seek medical help immediately if you are coughing up blood. A doctor can diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

9. Sweet Cravings With Extreme Thirst

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A user said that blood sugar levels should be monitored when you notice these persistent symptoms. These are the signs of diabetes, specifically severely uncontrolled high blood sugar.

“Peeing a lot while being insanely thirsty is a common sign of diabetes/pre-diabetes. Also, if your urine smells sweet (I’ve read “maple syrup” is a good description), you’re ingesting more sugar than your body can process.” Pay attention!

10. Joint Pain

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Joint pain can be a common complaint, especially as we age. However, persistent or severe joint pain should not be ignored. It could be a sign of an underlying condition such as arthritis or even Lyme disease or cancer.

If joint pain does not respond to over-the-counter medication, exercise (for better or worse), or gradually worsens over time, it is essential to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

11. Blood in Urine or Stool

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Blood in the urine or stool is never normal and should always be taken seriously. This could suggest an issue with the urinary tract, such as a bladder or kidney infection, or even a more serious condition like colorectal cancer.

It’s important to seek medical attention if you notice blood in your urine or stool, regardless of how much or how often it occurs. Early detection is key for successful treatment and management of any underlying conditions. Also, if you’re over 45, remember to schedule a regular colonoscopy!

12. Snoring

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While snoring can be a common occurrence, especially for those with allergies or sinus issues, it can also be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping, causing disruptions in the normal sleep cycle.

If you or your partner are consistently snoring loudly and waking up feeling tired, it may be worth discussing with a doctor to determine if sleep apnea is the cause. It can have serious health consequences if left untreated.

13. Changes in Fingernails

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Changes in fingernails, such as black lines, white lines, wavy nails, fragile nails, and widening nails, indicate that something is wrong and that one should see a doctor. These could suggest conditions like anemia, liver disease, or even heart disease.

Fingernail health is not something we often notice. Yet, paying attention to fingernail changes is important, and medical advice should be sought. Early detection can lead to early intervention and treatment of underlying health issues.

14. Your Dog Starts Sniffing You Repeatedly

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While it may seem like a strange symptom to include on this list, some people claim that their dogs have predicted health issues before they even became aware of them. Some say that when their dog starts sniffing or rubbing against a specific area of their body repeatedly, it can be an early warning sign.

There is even some scientific evidence to back this claim up that dogs can literally smell when something is wrong.

A user stated, “Sounds weird, I know, but many medical conditions give off a faint smell, and your best canine bud might be reacting to something. Quite a few people have been tipped off by their dog sniffing the site of their cancer.”

15. Spontaneous Bruising

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Sudden spontaneous bruising can signify a drop in platelet count or, sometimes, more severe conditions. If you notice unexplained bruising, especially in strange or uncommon areas of the body, seeking medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment is essential.

It’s also crucial to pay attention if bruises take longer than usual to heal or if there is excessive bleeding from cuts or injuries. These can be signs of a more significant underlying health issue that needs to be addressed promptly.

Ultimately, when in doubt or something feels “off,” never be afraid to discuss your concerns with a trusted medical professional.


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