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8 Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

Certain health warning signs are well known; like chest pain (heart attack), fever (infection), yellow eyes (jaundice), and irregular moles (skin cancer). But other concerning symptoms often get overlooked. Though they’re common indicators of important health problems, people find them easier to dismiss or ignore.
A regular doctor’s visit can often lay the issue to rest. With a little investigation, we can figure out whether there really is something to worry about, and, if so, treat. Here are eight often-overlooked symptoms that warrant a medical checkup.
1. SLEEPY DURING THE DAY (for no reason)
Sleep deprivation from  being up all night is different from the all-day-long fatigue — even to the point of nodding off — that you might feel even when you believe you had a decent night’s sleep. It’s especially concerning if feeling tired and unable to concentrate strikes you day after day, and you can’t fathom why.
Could indicate: Sleep Apnea. This sleep disorder occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat disrupt normal breathing patterns. Unable to get oxygen, the body struggles for breath and you wake up briefly — perhaps not enough to notice, except that this pattern occurs over and over, for hours, affecting overall sleep.
2. Unintentional Weight Loss
This isn’t the kind of weight loss that results from diligent exercise and bypassing the office vending machine. It’s the kind you notice when you hug your dad and he feels thinner, or you find yourself surprised to be cutting new notches in your belt.
Could indicate: Cancer. Unexplained weight loss (roughly ten pounds in a month) is a common warning sign of cancer. It can also indicate a possible thyroid problem and/or stress.
3. Persistent Cough
Everybody gets a cough now and then. And some cold-type irritations can linger for weeks. But if a cough wasn’t necessarily triggered by a cold and never seems to go away, another kind of respiratory problem may be at its root.
Could indicate: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, more commonly known by its acronym, COPD. Once called emphysema, this group of progressive lung diseases starts as a chronic cough that may not seem worrisome but represents permanent lung damage already taking place. Less commonly, a new chronic cough can be the first sign of lung cancer.
4. Frequent Urination
Do you have to go often? Some people write this off to an “aging bladder”; if they pay any attention at all. If the problem is a recent one, your body may be trying to tell you something.
Could indicate: Diabetes. Too much glucose in the blood can trigger a need to urinate often as the kidneys struggle to draw water out of the body in order to help them filter the glucose. Frequent urination is a warning sign of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. With diabetes, other symptoms include extreme thirstiness, weakness, fatigue, blurry vision, and a tingling sensation in the fingers or toes.
(Especially in women, a sudden onset of frequent urination can also indicate a urinary tract infection. In men, it’s also an indicator of possible prostate problems)
5. Balance Problems
Everybody can take a tumble. But slipping or falling into things often isn’t normal, even for a self-proclaimed klutz. Nor is losing your balance something that happens to every older adult. Yet people often fail to connect these “accidents” with an underlying problem.
Could indicate: A neurological problem. Many different things can cause wiring problems that result in a loss of balance and falls, including motor diseases (such as Parkinson’s), autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis), and diabetic retinopathy (caused by diabetes).
6. Chronic Constipation
A single episode of constipation—infrequent bowel movements—falls under the category “Major Annoyances,” not “Something to Stress About.” It’s a myth, for example, that everyone should have a bowel movement every day. (Many people do fine with three a week, and some people occasionally can manage once a week, depending on diet, doctors say.) But when constipation becomes a frequent problem, it’s worth looking into possible physical causes.
Could indicate: Colon growths or colorectal cancer. Growths in the colon can cause a narrowing or blockage, leading to the constipation. That’s why problems with bowel movements are a red flag for cancerous or precancerous polyps.
7. Discomfort When You Exercise
Most adults know something’s not right when someone experiences crushing chest pain. But another, more diffuse pain pattern is more often discounted: discomfort that spreads from the chest to the neck and arms, especially after doing something vigorous like yard work or climbing stairs.
Could indicate: Coronary artery disease (CAD), also called coronary heart disease. The diffuse pattern of discomfort often affects women, who are less likely than men to have classic chest pain, the typical presentation of heart disease. As the arteries harden and narrow due to cholesterol buildup and other factors, the blood can’t freely travel through them, leading to chest pain (angina) and heart attack. Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women.
8. ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (Men)
It’s not that men don’t notice difficulty getting or maintaining an erection, of course. The problem is that they tend to consider impotence an emotional matter rather than a physical one. Or they get the immediate problem treated (with Viagra, for example) without having the underlying causes evaluated or treated.
Could indicate: Heart disease. Impotence is a hallmark sign of cardiovascular disease in men. In fact, men with erectile dysfunction are twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease or to die of a heart attack, according to a 2010 study of more than 1,500 men in the journal Circulation. Please click to visit our LOW-T (testosterone) page.

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