Noticing the warning signs early on could mean the difference between illness and good health. Things to pay attention to with your health are
Ankle or Leg Swelling
In many cases, ankle or leg swelling is caused by some sort of injury. However, if the swelling can’t be directly attributed to an injury, it may be a sign of something more severe. For example, swelling in the legs could signify a leg infection or poor circulation. Also, it might be a sign of heart failure, kidney failure, or liver failure. All three of these conditions produce an excess amount of fluid in the body, which causes swelling.
Go to the health facility if you already have one of these disorders and the swelling gets worse. It could be a sign of complications.
Fatigue or Weakness
Fatigue, or feeling “run-down”, results from a wide variety of conditions. Something as harmless as a lack of sleep or rest can invoke mild forms of fatigue. Generally, fatigue brought on by a lack of sleep will only last a short time, provided that the sleep schedule eventually goes back to normal. If you are so fatigued that no amount of rest can help, it could be a sign of a serious illness like heart disease, diabetes, or sleep apnea.
Shortness of Breath
This does not have to do with shortness of breath brought on by exercise. Rather, this refers to shallow, rapid breathing that can be an indicator of a serious condition. Like heart or lung disease. The immediacy of the shortness of breath can point to what is causing it; for example, if the shortness of breath comes on suddenly, it can be a sign of asthma or low blood pressure. Long-lasting, or chronic, shortness of breath might be indicative of a lung disease. A doctor should be consulted!
The skin may actually show what is going on inside the body in certain instances. For example, changes in the skin’s color can be a signal of internal disease. A most well-known example is the yellowing of the skin which can be pointing to liver disease.
Unexplained Rash or Growth on Skin
The appearance of an unusual rash on the skin could represent some sort of internal issue or infection. Sometimes people can develop a rash that is caused by an allergy to a new medicine or a type of food. Make sure to consult with your pharmacist if you do develop an unexplained rash shortly after going on a new medication. If the rash is accompanied by other symptoms, like aches or a fever, seek medical attention.
Sudden Weight Loss or Gain
Rapid, unexplained change in weight can be a health risk in some cases. It could indicate a serious illness, like diabetes or could be a symptom of cancer. In general, consult with a medical person if you experience a sudden change in weight.
Changes in Appetite
Closely related to fluctuations in weight, immediate changes in appetite are also a red flag because a significant change in appetite is usually a sign that something isn’t quite right. Keep in mind that there is nothing to worry about if you happen to become uncharacteristically hungry or full for just a day or two. There should be some concern if these changes to the appetite are not stopping and directly impact weight changes.
Nausea or Vomiting
No, you should not overreact every time you feel a little nauseous. And yes, there are all kinds of factors that cause nausea and vomiting, like food poisoning or the flu but as with most warning signs of serious illness, worry if the nausea or vomiting persists for an extended period of time. If it does, you do not wait too long to have this checked at a health facility.
Difficulty in swallowing is generally caused by some sort of damage to the throat. This damage can take many different forms, with cancer being the most severe. Difficulty in swallowing as a warning sign typically occurs in conjunction with other symptoms; so be vigilant regarding it.
Chest pain could be caused by a number of different factors ranging from muscle soreness to a heart attack. It’s best to monitor the severity of the pain as well as how quickly the pain sets in. If the pain is severe and sudden, get medical help immediately. Long-term pain, no matter how severe, could be an indicator of heart disease. Chest pain is not something that should be ignored until it goes away. If it persists for more than a couple of days, go see a doctor.
Similar to chest pain, abdominal pain can have many different causes, which makes it tricky. It could mean something as harmless as an upset stomach brought on by a certain food. On the other hand, consistent abdominal pain could be a sign of something much more severe, like gastrointestinal disease or cancer. Be mindful of the length and severity of your abdominal pain and know that sometimes abdominal pain can be accompanied by bowel issues, so keep an eye out for that as well.