Sometimes it’s really obvious that you need to see a doctor. A dangerously high fever, persistent vomiting, or excruciating pain are very clear signs that something is wrong and you need medical attention.
But some symptoms of a serious illness are easy to ignore, or you may be too embarrassed to see a doctor.
Sean Pierce, MD, is a family physician at OSF Medical Group-Primary Care in Washington, Illinois. He identified symptoms that people often ignore but could indicate something serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, get them checked out. Don’t ignore them and risk your long-term health and safety.
- Change in bowel movements or habits
“People have their own bowel habits,” says Dr. Pearce. “Maybe you have to go after your morning coffee or some other regular routine so you know when your routine changes.”
The most noticeable changes are unusual and persistent constipation, persistent diarrhea, the feeling of not emptying the bowels completely, and even blood in the stool.
“People don’t want to talk about it, or they don’t want to face it,” Dr. Pearce said. “They usually put it off for a while. It doesn’t make them go to the doctor. If they have blood in their stool, they think it’s just hemorrhoids.
“The biggest worry for people aged 45 and over is the possibility of colon cancer. What finally brings someone is abdominal pain. At this point, the disease can get worse. It’s important not to ignore some of the first symptoms. .”
- Sudden weight loss
“If someone is losing weight without changing their eating habits or exercise, it’s concerning to us because our bodies don’t naturally lose weight,” says Dr. Pearce.
Weight loss is gradual, over weeks and months, but you may notice that your clothes fit more loosely, even if your diet or exercise routine hasn’t changed. In this case, Dr. Pierce’s biggest concern is cancer.
“We’ll be looking for cancers of the lung, peritoneal cavity, and even leukemia,” he said.
It can also be diabetes or thyroid disease.
- Chronic fatigue or exhaustion
If you feel tired all the time, it could be a sign of depression, which is a self-feeding illness.
It can happen gradually, so it’s hard to notice, says Dr. Pearce. A person becomes disinterested in things and perhaps even more withdrawn. Also, if a person interacts less with others, it is difficult for those close to him to see the change.
In addition, depression can cause insomnia, which makes the problem worse. Changes in diet and work performance problems can be symptoms of depression.
“These things come on slowly, and people often think that seeking help and treatment is a sign of weakness,” says Dr Pearce. “They think, ‘It’s for someone else, but it’s not for me.'”
Other diseases such as thyroid disease should be ruled out.
- Shortness of breath
“Shortness of breath doesn’t make people seek medical attention unless it’s serious,” says Dr. Pearce. “It can be related to a lack of movement, but when we’re short of breath when climbing stairs or doing everyday tasks like taking out the trash, it can be a serious problem that needs attention.
“People often think they need other symptoms of shortness of breath, such as chest pain or a cough, before they go to the doctor. However, shortness of breath is a symptom that needs to be addressed. It takes a long time and allows you to adjust, so it’s a problem that should lead to a doctor’s visit.” not recognized.”
Shortness of breath can be caused by heart disease or asthma. If you smoke, you probably have COPD, but smokers tend to ignore shortness of breath because they think it’s just from smoking.
According to Dr. Pierce, shortness of breath associated with a cough, especially if there is blood, could be cancer.