Thanks to technology, the vehicles we drive are made and designed by displaying warning signs of when something needs our attention. It could be a low fuel warning light or maybe low tire pressure. Whatever it is, they are meant to make us aware of something that needs to be corrected or fixed.
Our bodies are the same way. It may not come equipped with all the bells and whistles our vehicles do, but it can nonetheless send out warning signs and symptoms trying to make us aware something is not right or is different than usual. There is something requiring our consideration and care to be checked to rule out a serious health concern. Our warning alarms can be quite varied and sometimes even vague, but if you know your body well enough and are giving it the attention and care it needs each day, you can usually tell when things have changed and merit more scrutiny.
Here are warning signs or symptoms our body may be sending out trying to capture your attention:
· Unexplained weight loss
For those wanting to lose weight, this may not seem like a problem. But when a person is losing weight without even trying, this can be signaling a health issue. Anytime someone has lost more than 10 pounds or more than 5 percent of their body weight during the last six to 12 months without dieting or increasing exercise, a trip to the doctor is warranted.
Possible explanations - There can be a variety of conditions unexplained weight loss can be attributed to – overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism, diabetes, liver disease, cancer, depression or a condition such as celiac disease in which your body is having difficulty absorbing nutrients.
· Weakness in the arms and legs
Anytime a person is experiencing weakness or numbness in the extremities or face, get to a doctor, call 911 or get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
Possible explanation – You could be having a stroke. Signs of a stroke can include weakness especially it it’s on one side of the body and if you are having trouble with balance, dizziness, or having trouble walking or speaking. The sooner you get help, the more likely it can be reversible with few if any side effects.
· Shortness of breath
Many different things can bring on shortness of breath but it often can be a signal of an underlying health problem needing to be looked into.
Possible explanation – Strenuous exercise, high temperatures, obesity, high altitudes are common causes of shortness of breath that is to be expected under the circumstances. Other explanations of this symptom, especially if it comes on suddenly and is severe, could possibly be chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, a blood clot in the lung, panic attacks, or any type of heart and lung problem. Each of these situations need to have medical care right away.
· Chest pain
If there is any one symptom when it is better to be safe than sorry, it’s chest pain. If the chest pain is accompanied by sweating, pressure, shortness of breath, or nausea, it warrants a trip to an emergency room.
Possible explanation – Chest pain can be a sign of a heart attack, or possibly a blood clot moving into the lung.
· Unexplained changes in bowel habits
Bowel habits can change every so often to where they may be slightly different than usual. But if you notice unusual or unexplained changes such as bloody, black, or tarry-colored stools, persistent diarrhea or constipation, or unexplained urges to have a bowel movement, something is most likely amiss.
Possible explanation – Changes in bowel habits can mean a number of things – a bacterial, viral or parasitic infection or possibly irritable bowel disease or colon cancer. If it doesn’t go back to normal within a few weeks, seek advice from a doctor.
· Blood in your urine
Seeing blood in your urine should get your attention right away.
Possible explanation – Blood in the urine could indicate a kidney stone especially if you are feeling pain in your side or in your back. If you have noticed an increase in the urgency to urinate, it might be a severe bladder or kidney infection or if you see blood but without any pain, if might signal kidney or bladder cancer. Your best bet is to see your doctor right away to have it checked out.
· Confusion, personality changes or suicidal thoughts
Anytime a person is demonstrating a change in their ability to think, difficulty focusing or concentrating, showing behavior changes or displaying severe depression, this is your body announcing to the world, I need help.
Possible explanation – Changes in our demeanor or ability to function normally, can be very unsettling and there can be many causes of this – mental health conditions, medications, relationship issues, or the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The key is to see your physician as soon as possible to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment for what may be the problem.
Hearing a whistling sound when you breathe or what sounds like wheezing, is likely a breathing problem needing to be diagnosed soon. Waiting too long can turn wheezing to the point of requiring medical attention right away.
Possible explanation – Wheezing is an alarm bell that could signal anything from asthma, a lung disease, a severe allergy or exposure to chemicals, bronchitis, pneumonia or bronchitis. Because wheezing can escalate negatively affecting breathing don’t delay seeing a doctor.
· Pain or tenderness in the back of the lower leg
Pain on the back of the lower leg could be due to something as simple as excessive exercise. But if you feel heat, see redness or a noticeable swelling of one leg larger than the other and if you flex your toes upwards and it hurts, you should call your doctor as soon as possible or go to an emergency room.
Possible explanation – The most likely cause of these symptoms is a blood clot in the leg known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT. DVT is a condition that can happen if you are on a long plane trip or if you’ve been lying in bed sick for a long time with little movement. DVT is potentially life-threatening if a piece of the blood clot were to break off and travel through the circulatory system and become lodged blocking blood flow.