Everyone experiences minor illnesses or injuries that usually go away on their own, but it can be challenging to know when your symptoms become severe enough to see a doctor. Often all these symptoms are easily treatable and have simple explanations. However, while you shouldn't immediately assume the worst, it is good to know when you should take things seriously and spot the crucial signs early.
There is no strict schedule on when to visit your doctor, but here are five concerning symptoms that you might be experiencing. These may enable your doctor to spot and treat a dangerous illness before it progresses.
1. Unexpected Weight Loss
Suddenly dropping weight without effort may sound like a good thing to those who want to shed a few pounds, but it can be a sign of an illness. In order to lose weight, your body needs to burn up more energy than it has consumed (calorie deficit). If you've not cut back on your food or started exercising lately, something else must be causing your weight loss.
There can be multiple reasons: infection, digestive problems, depression, type 2 diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or anxiety. It's best to visit the doctor if you have unexplained weight loss. as it can be caused by diseases as severe as undiagnosed cancer. If you’re in Texas, visit https://www.inspire-texas.com/plano-doctors-office/ to book an appointment immediately for a checkup and tests.
2. Chest Pain
Despite the contrary belief that heart attacks are always accompanied by severe pain, you can experience slight chest pain during a heart attack. 5.5% of visits to the doctor due to chest pain result in a diagnosis of serious conditions. Sometimes aching chest pain might be harmless, but you can have full and heavy chest pain when the heart has low oxygen levels due to a heart attack or angina. The chest pain can worsen during exercise and stress, even moving into your left arm, accompanied by sweating and breathlessness.
If you feel these symptoms, you need medical attention immediately, as you may need to get a clot-dissolving drug. Call the doctor immediately; these drugs can save your life and work best in the first hour, so every minute counts.
3. Persistent Cough
Coughs can come and go but should not be passed as normal if your cough isn't healing. In chronic cases, a cough persists for longer than eight weeks and can damage the lungs and other parts of the body. A doctor should always assess a cough that brings up blood or a chronic cough. If you smoke, get checked by a doctor if you’re dealing with a standing cough, as it can be a sign of chronic bronchitis.
Approximately 10% of people worldwide experience headaches. A severe throbbing headache felt at the side or front of the head might be a migraine which is not life-threatening but uncomfortable, so you should get medical attention. Watch out for headaches that:
- Follow a head-injury
- Get worse when you’re lying on your back
- Are persistent and do not get better
These can result in brain damage if not treated. It’s also necessary to get medical attention immediately if you have a sudden blinding headache, which can be a sign of a brain aneurysm or hemorrhage.
5. New or Growing Moles
Spending time outside in the sun is a great way to get vitamin D for strong bones, but sunburns can cause skin cancer, as every year, around 9,500 people get diagnosed with skin cancer in the USA alone. Check your body after every few months for new moles or freckles, especially areas exposed to the sun. Spots that don't heal or have gotten larger, get itchy or bleed, and consist of different shades of brown should be assessed by a doctor. Skin cancer can be removed without harm if you catch it early, so it's best to get it checked immediately.
It's important to note that different symptoms can present various diseases, and online information can bring up wrong results. It's best to get a checkup with your doctor immediately if you suffer from any of the signs mentioned here. Make sure to have annual checkups and take preventative health screenings to monitor your health to catch a disease before it progresses.