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December 21, 2018

Seven common symptoms that should not be overlooked

Illness Symptoms

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If you’ve ever experienced an unusual symptom — whether it’s pain, discomfort, swelling, or something else entirely — the first place you probably looked for guidance was the internet. With a bevy of digital resources at your fingertips, pursuing advice from online channels may seem like the obvious first step. However, there's a lot of bad information out there so be sure to confine your research to reputable sites like Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health. And, remember that it is important to seek medical attention if worrisome symptoms persist or become more severe. 

If you experience the following issues, they could be indications of a deeper, underlying condition.

1. Sudden weight loss

Losing ten pounds or more without explanation may sound like a stroke of good luck, especially if your goal is to control your weight, but unintended weight loss is often a sign of something more serious. Pinpointing the exact cause can prove to be a challenge, as rapid weight loss is typically the result of a combination of factors. If your body weight drops by five percent or more, however, this could be an early sign of a digestive disorder or other serious health condition.

2. Skin changes, lumps, or bumps

Most people know that lumps found in the chest may signal breast cancer, but what about lumps found elsewhere, either on or beneath the skin? New growths, moles, or freckles, as well as changes that occur to existing ones, could be a cause for concern. Keep an eye on your skin and alert your primary care physician or dermatologist if any transformations or abnormalities crop up.

3. Unusual bleeding

Blood or bloody discharge can be alarming and, depending on the source of the bleeding, it could signal any number of health problems. Whether it’s irregular vaginal bleeding or blood in your stool, consult your doctor right away.

4. High fever

A fever is your system’s natural response to infection and illness, and most fevers turn out to be benign. If you have recurring fevers or frequent infections accompanied by other symptoms like fatigue and weight loss, schedule a check-up, as this could be a sign of a more dangerous condition.

5. Difficulty breathing

While shortness of breath and shallow or painful breathing are fairly common for some people, these symptoms should not be overlooked. Talk with your doctor about chronic shortness of breath and seek immediate emergency care for acute (severe) breathlessness.

6. Unrelenting Cough

Vocal overuse or infection are the most prevalent causes of a cough or hoarseness. Sometimes, however, a cough that just won’t quit might suggest something else is a sign that medical attention is needed.

7. Bladder malfunction

Symptoms such as blood in your urine, pain or burning while urinating, or a frequent urge to use the bathroom are often a sign of a simple urinary tract infection (UTI). This type of infection, caused by a bacterium found in your digestive system, is very common and can usually be treated with antibiotics. If you are experiencing UTI symptoms, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor to determine the best form of treatment.

Lots of common symptoms often turn out to be harmless, but if you’re just not sure where to turn, always err on the side of caution and visit your local urgent care center or make an appointment with your physician. When it comes to your health, the more you know, the better.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on this web site is for general information purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or health care provider on any matters relating to your health.

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