We usually know when we're getting sick. We feel bad – well, worse than usual, anyways - and our skin starts changing color, maybe even getting bumps or whatever. We also have increased body temperature and various disgusting stuff oozes from places where nothing should ooze from. Oh, and there's pain - so many varieties of pain! That's how we know that we're sick.
However, some symptoms are more insidious. They might be too small to notice or very easy to write off as being caused by changing phases of the moon or whatever. But those symptoms are probably the ones you should care about the most. Here are 10 that you should never overlook.
Mystery weight loss
Purposefully losing weight is hard, but when you start shedding pounds for no reason, you should get worried. If you lose five percent of your body weight in less than six months/half a year without partaking in a weight loss diet, get yourself checked out. This is an especially worrying sign if you feel more fatigued and tired than usual. Weight loss might show that you have gut problems, difficulty absorbing nutrients, an overactive thyroid, undiagnosed diabetes, depression or even cancer.
Thickenings and lumps
You might know that lumps in the breasts and scrotum are well known as reasons to see a dock, lumps in other places shouldn't be ignored either. They might not be cancer, but you might still need biopsy to find out what's wrong. A soft lump might be the result of a hernia, which is also something that should be treated. A thickening of the skin might be felt by running a finger over an area and feeling that tissues under it are thickened or hardened.
Shocking, I know: chest pains might mean such bad stuff like heart attack, clots in the lung, or even such mundane stuff like tiny rib muscle spasms or rib cartilage inflammation. It might also be caused by acid reflux - heartburn - which get mistaken for heart attack in 20% of the cases. Even doctors have a hard time telling this apart! However, chest pain or tightness should not be ignored, especially when it feels like aching discomfort, burning or tight pressure, or feel like a bear hug.
Bowel habit change
Stool humor can save you if it makes it easier for you to talk about your bowel movements. Bowel cancer is killing even younger people than before, so take care to notice any persistent changes in how often you poop, or a change in consistency, like constipation or diarrhea. Seek doctors if it continues for more than a week or two, especially if you notice blood or slime in your poop.
Unexpected blood from part of your body
Luckily enough, blood will freak you out enough to see a dock. Here's what unexpected bleeding might mean:
coughing up blood – cancer or a clot in a lung
vomit with dark flecks or redness – bleeding in the stomach
black, stinky poop – intestinal bleeding
bleeding between periods or after sex – cervical or womb bleeding due to polyps or cancer
post-menopausal bleeding after your periods have stopped – womb cancer
blood in fluid or discharge from any orifice – tissue inflammation or cancer
Difficulty Swallowing / Fullness without eating
The easiest culprits of troubled swallowing are sore throat and tonsillitis. However, there might be deeper problems in your gullet. You might have difficulty swallowing because of age. Since this leads to people not taking medicine as often as prescribed, tell your doc to give you liquids or whatever. Neurological problems might also be the cause. However, if you feel full without eating, have a feeling of food stuck in your throat, you need to see the doctor for esophagus related health issues – or cancer.
Persistent caught or shortness of breath.
If your coughing doesn't clear up within three weeks or you're constantly short of breath, see a specialist. One is a symptom of irritation of the airways, the other shows that your lungs aren't working as well as they should.
If you notice a pain that keeps coming back or is becoming more frequent and persistent, see a doc, especially if it's combined with weight loss, tiredness or changed bowel movements.
Changing skin blemishes, unhealing scabs, sores and ulcers
A changed blemish might be the symptom of a skin cancer – best do a biopsy on that. Same goes for ulcers and sores that refuse to heal.
Hoarse voice/sore throat
Again, if hoarse voice or sore throat lasts for more than three weeks, see a doctor. You might have a bacterial infection, immune disorders, muscle or nerve problems or – surprise, surprise - cancer.