March 15, 2013

7 health symptoms you should never ignore

Yes, that headache probably is just a headache and yes, maybe the dizziness is just a side effect from a heavy night – until it’s not. Keep a beady eye on any unfamiliar health symptoms because what we think are common health problems may turn out to be much worse. Here are seven health symptoms you should never ignore.

Health symptom 1: Severe toothache

While many of us tend to experience tooth sensitivities when we tuck into our favourite ice cream or enjoy a cold drink, if you're experiencing more sensitivity than usual, you need to go for a cavity check. Severe toothache can indicate that your tooth's nerve has become damaged; a common side-effect of rotting teeth. If you ignore this health problem, you could end up with an infected nerve as the bacteria spread around your mouth - ouch! A filling will solve the problem if the nerve hasn't already become infected, whereas a root canal may be necessary if the infection has spread to other areas. Seek attention from your dentist as soon as possible. 

Health symptom 2: Daily bloated stomach in ladies

We've felt like an over-inflated balloon more times than we can count on two pairs of hands and feet - it's not uncommon to feel like you've over-indulged every now and again, particularly before your period. If you notice gas, severe abdominal pain, difficulty eating, or all of the aforementioned on a daily basis, it's worth paying a visit to a medical professional who can either put your mind at ease by giving you the all-clear or refer you on to a gynaecologic oncologist for scans and treatment if necessary.
Health symptom 3: Intense and sudden headaches
Sudden headaches that feel like no pain you’ve ever experienced before could be a sign of a ruptured aneurysm – a burst blood vessel in the brain that requires immediate attention. Other symptoms that go hand-in-hand with a worryingly bad headache include chest pain, exhaustion and loss of vision, which could be signs of cardiac cephalgia or meningitis. If you’ve been experiencing intense headaches that appear out of nowhere, make sure you seek advice from your doctor to catch any potential health problems as soon as possible.

Health symptom 4: Chest pain

Many of us suffer from chest pain every now and again, particularly if we’ve enjoyed a delightful spicy dish the previous evening (yum!). How do you know when chest pain becomes something more serious than just plain heartburn though? The answer is that you probably don’t without seeking medical attention. However, pressure on your chest – often described as feeling like an elephant sitting on you – or upper abdominal pain are just two of many signs of a heart attack. If you’re ever in any doubt, the doctor is always the best person to see.

Health symptom 5: Excessive body hair on women

While both men and women grow hair all over their bodies, it’s unusual for women to sprout coarse hairs on their face, chest, stomach or around their nipples. If you find hair in places that aren’t typical of the female body, visit your doctor as this may be a sign of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS tends to develop when there is an imbalance of female hormones and can lead to irregular periods and infertility. If in doubt, get it checked out!

Health symptom 6: Unexplained weight loss

While you may diet and exercise in a conscious bid to lose weight, if you start losing more weight than you usually would or you’ve been losing weight without exercising or dieting, this could be a sign of something more serious. Indeed, unexplained weight loss can indicate that an illness is manifesting itself in your body, and may be a sign of diabetes, malnourishment, or a number of other dangerous health problems. All cases of unexplained weight loss should be evaluated by a medical professional to check for serious health complications.

Health symptom 7: Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can ruin more than just your sex life. Other negative side effects commonly associated with the problem of not being able to achieve or maintain an erection include depression and an increased risk of heart disease. Men are notorious for ignoring health symptoms: “Why do I need to visit the doctor about my broken wrist? Just stick some duct tape around it and I’ll be fine”.  Gentlemen, while it’s great to look on the bright side of life, you must take any health symptoms – such as the above – seriously; it could save your life!     

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