We live in an age when diagnosing and preventing diseases has never been easier. Compared to our ancestors, who had a lower life expectancy and limited access to healthcare, we can now live happily well beyond our 70s and, thanks to the constant advancements in medicine, we can treat diseases that were previously death sentences within weeks. We also have the means to test ourselves regularly and catch problematic health issues before they become hard to treat. However, few people actually take advantage of this incredible chance at prevention. Annual checkups are very important, but many people skip them because they believe that they feel well and there is nothing wrong with their health. But not all conditions speak loud and clear; some have subtle symptoms or even no symptoms at all and by the time pain or other obvious signs set in, the disease has already done a lot of damage. This is why it’s essential to listen to our bodies and watch out for subtle warning symptoms that are easy to ignore.
1. Constant fatigue
It’s perfectly normal to feel sleepy if you didn’t get your eight hours of sleep or if you had a long week at work. However, if you can’t remember the last time you felt well rested and you are constantly tired, no matter how much you sleep, you might want to check with your doctor, because fatigue can indicate a number of health conditions. It’s tempting to brush fatigue off and consider it a given of modern life, but it actually correlates to bad habits or underlying health conditions.
2. Bad skin
The skin is the largest organ in the human body and it reflects our lifestyle and general state of health. Perfect, flawless skin is quite rare and most people have problems with acne or uneven skin texture without them suffering from something in particular, but a sudden change in skin quality can point to a medical problem. Unexplained dryness may mean you’re dehydrated, excess sebum production could indicate hormonal imbalance and persistent acne could be related to polycystic ovaries.
3. Unexplained weight fluctuations
Unless you change your diet or exercise routine, your weight should remain constant. If you find that lately you’ve been gaining or losing weight for no apparent reason, a medical problem could be behind it or your lifestyle could be negatively impacting your health. Talk to your doctor about weight fluctuations and other additional symptoms you may have been experiencing to rule out thyroid problems or chronic conditions.
4. Hair loss and brittle nails
Often overlooked because they don’t have pain receptors, our hair and nails can actually say a lot about our health. For example, losing up to 100 hairs a day is perfectly normal and doesn’t indicate a health problem. However, if you lose more than that, you may be dealing with a vitamin deficiency. The same is true for your nails. If they’re white or yellow instead of pink and if you have discolored patches on them, you could have a fungus or even lymphedema.
We can thank cartoons and comedies for making snoring look so funny, but apart from keeping your partner up at night, it can lead to sleep apnoea and could be the sign of polyps or a deviated septum. If you often wake up in the middle of the night unable to breathe, schedule an appointment with your ENT doctor to find out if there’s reason for concern.
Bloating is frequently overlooked, especially by women, because it’s associated with the whims of the menstrual cycle. However, the normal kind of bloating goes away within a few days and doesn’t cause pain. If you are bloated all the time, no matter what you eat, your doctor will recommend you to have some blood tests and a general checkup. Constant bloating can be caused by an imbalance in gut bacteria or, if it occurs in the lower abdomen, it could even hide a tumor or polycystic ovary syndrome.
7. Cracked lips
A lip balm is a handy thing to keep in your handbag to fight the nasty side effects of extreme temperatures, but if you have to apply it all the time, you may have vitamin B deficiency. Cracked lips could hide anemia, so you might want to schedule some blood tests if they don’t get better in a couple of months.
Going to the doctor only to ask about fatigue or a headache that doesn’t go away may sound a bit excessive, but healthcare professionals actually advise their patients to do this more often because not do they have a better chance at catching diseases earlier this way, but the cost of treatment can be considerably reduced.
If it’s the fear of testing that keeps you from learning more about your health, there’s no reason to be afraid. Most tests are actually painless and only take a couple of minutes. Besides, technology has advanced so much that you can do some tests at home to find out more about your health or your genetic code. It’s always a good idea to wear a Fitbit or invest in home health monitoring equipment to check allergies, blood pressure and cholesterol, but you can actually go even further; for example, Orig3n Reviews confirm the efficiency of home DNA tests. You can test yourself at home to discover your strength, intelligence or speed attributes and you can use high-end tools to measure endurance, metabolic rate or recovery rate. Nowadays, there are many ways to check your health – take advantage of them, don’t ignore symptoms and you will be able to live a longer, healthier, happier life.