Stroke, diabetes, cancer or heart disease don’t just happen out of the blues. You aren’t healthy one day and then chronically ill on the next day. Long before you’re diagnosed with a disease, your body gives you several warning signs.
The warning signs are subtle are often dismissed or ignored until it’s too late. How can you tell that you’re in danger? Here are 10 warning signs that you should be aware of and consider doing a body check:
1. You’re always tired
Sure, you could be tired because you’re burning the midnight oil and waking up early. But you could also be tired because your adrenal glands are worn out, your thyroid is not functioning properly and your body is working too hard to protect you from an onslaught of toxins from alcohol, processed foods, cigarettes or environmental exposures.
More commonly, you could be fatigued because you stress responses are full throttle at all times and your self-repair mechanisms are pushing too hard, trying to protect you from a serious illness like cancer. Chronic fatigue is often the only sign that your nervous system is stuck in repetitive stress response.
So don’t ignore or dismiss chronic fatigue. Pay attention and visit a doctor, which might actually save your life.
2. You’re always anxious
“It’s all in my head.” It’s easy to dismiss anxiety. Sure, chronic anxiety can start in your head, but it translates into your physiology and predisposes you to serious ailments like heart disease. Anxiety can also go the other way. It can be caused by adrenal tumors, sex hormone imbalances, hyperthyroidism, and more. You may be anxious because your body is trying to tell you that something is no alright.
Do not ignore your constant anxiety, schedule an appointment with your doctor for a body check.
3. Unintentional weight loss
In an obese prone world full of calories and junk food, weight loss is often celebrated. It can be a great achievement and it can be excellent for your appearance and health. However, if you lose more than ten pounds without changes to your exercise routine or diet, you need to see a doctor.
Changes to your appetite and unintentional weight loss can be a sign of many cancers. This especially happens with lung, stomach, pancreatic and esophageal cancer. Weight loss is also a common sign of leukemia and lymphoma.
4. You have a colorful and large mole
On average, almost everyone has from 10 to 45 moles. Moles normally appear during childhood and adolescence, but you can still have new ones when you are as old as 40.
Generally, moles are benign. But if your moles are colorful and large, that could be a symptom of a common type of skin cancer known as melanoma. It’s however difficult to determine whether a mole is harmful on your own. There are common signs you should look out for. Use the A-B-C-D rule.
Asymmetry: harmless moles are round and asymmetrical.
Border: harmless moles have a regular shape.
Color: harmless moles have a similar hue across the surface. Diameter: if a mole is larger than a pencil, you need to get it checked.
If you notice moles that are a bit off, it’s critical that you seek the opinion of a dermatologist.
5. You bruise easily
Most bruises are harmless. But if you often find strange marks on your body, that can be a sign of underlying medical conditions like blood diseases or blood-clotting issues.
Mysterious bruising can also be a symptom of anemia. Anemia is caused by low levels of dietary iron. To prevent anemia, you need to add iron-rich foods such as beef, beans, spinach, lentils, turkey and shellfish into your diet.
Deficiency in Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin K can also result in easy bruising. This too can be sorted out by a balanced diet. It’s prudent to visit a doctor if you experience unexplained bruising or bleeding.
6. A waist bigger than hips
Overweight people typically fit into two categories: apple-shaped and pear-shaped. On its own, being overweight can be an indicator of poor health. But if you’re apple-shaped, you’re more predisposed to heart disease than pear-shaped people.
Having a waist bigger than hips (apple-shape) also puts you at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. This is because abdominal fat makes insulin less effective.
7. Chronic Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are common. They often flare up and are nothing to worry about. If however, hemorrhoids don’t respond to treatment, you need have them checked out by a gastrointestinal specialist. About 30% of Crohn’s disease patients have a form of hemorrhoids that affects only the anal region.
In these cases, the condition appears as sores, ulcerations or fleshy growths that are similar to hemorrhoids. This type of Crohn disease doesn’t have a good prognosis and it’s extremely painful. Crohn disease can cause bowel obstruction, painful fissures, and even colon cancer when it’s not treated.
Medications are available for impotence and erectile dysfunction, but these conditions should not be treated lightly or ignored. If you’re suffering from impotence and especially if there is a history of heart disease in your family, it’s important that you get your heart checked.
The penis has some of smallest arteries in the body and so impotence is one of the first signs of heart disease.
9. Frequent memory lapses
Memory lapses happen to almost all of us. Frequent memory lapses such as forgetting items in you to-do-list or even people’s names could mean that you have low levels of thyroid hormone. Having inadequate amounts of thyroid hormone slows everything down.
Other symptoms of hypothyroid include, low libido, losing the ability to taste food, and feeling cold. People often don’t link these feelings together or ignore them altogether. So if you feel like you’re in a fog, it’s time to visit a doctor.
- Frequent bathroom trips
If you experience chronic thirst and if you need to visit the washroom constantly, even in your sleep, it’s vital that you get a body check. When type-2 diabetes starts to develop, cells become more and more incapable of absorbing or utilizing blood sugar. The sugar thus accumulates in the bloodstream and becomes toxic. The body then tries to flush out excess sugar through urination.
Do not take your health for granted. Your body communicates to your every day in a variety of ways and you will know that something is off. When you get the above common warning signs, do not ignore them.
High blood sugar damages your organs. So the sooner you get a diagnosis for type-2 diabetes, the better.