Signs of Potential Medical Problems You must Heed
Since the dawn of Man, signs have already played a crucial role in his life. Primitive man broke leaves, etched on tree trunks, read footprints, or drew on cave walls or on stones.
Those signs were all meant to convey a message – usually to convey information or warning of potential serious consequences if ignored.
We don’t break leaves or etch on tree trunks anymore, but our lives are still governed by signs. In fact, more signs – from those on laptop or smartphone keyboards to street signs along the roads you drive through each day.
Then as now, they convey the same message, but more complex, comprehensive and baffling, at times.
Other signs, though not as obvious but no less important, are those that come from within our body.
The irony is that while we take extra precautions to obey signs around us, we seldom listen or heed those signs in us.
One good example involved a close friend, a tennis buddy, and a former work colleague.
When he noticed bloating of his stomach, he went for a CT scan. The result was devastating – he had stage 4 liver cancer, secondary to lung cancer.
Had he heeded the signs from his lungs, probably he would not have died a week ago.
What about you? Do you heed body signs as fastidiously as you do street signs?
You should. Your health and wellbeing depend on it. To start with, here are a few you must heed.
1. Changes in urine color:
Urine is normally pale yellow to gold in color if you are healthy. This may change due to the food you eat, or medications you are taking.
Urine has 70 markers or signs that determine the overall health of a person. Foremost of these is color.
It turns pale yellow if you just drank too much water, or a diuretic, like coffee. A dark honey color could indicate dehydration.
If it persists even after having hydrating yourself, it could mean a serious medical problem of the liver. See a doctor immediately.
Signs of blood in your urine could be due to urinary tract infection, or kidney stones – especially if urination is painful.
Color cancer is possible if signs of blood are obvious, but urinating is pain-free. In both cases, visit a doctor immediately.
Liver malfunction is also possible if your urine is dark orange, comes with a pale-colored stool, and jaundiced skin and eyes.
To preempt potential medical issues, get a urine color chart from the Mayo Clinic.
2. Changes in weight:
Changes in weight are signs of potential medical problems.
Unless you are on a strict diet weight loss, say 5 to 10 lbs over a 3-mo period, could be a sign of cancer, autoimmune and chronic diseases, or depression.
Conversely, an unexpected weight gain is a sign of potential hypothyroidism, adrenal disorders, or abnormal fluid retention common to people with heart failure or renal disease.
Weight gain among women may be signs of pregnancy.
3. Swollen gums:
Brushing or flossing our teeth is probably the only time we give attention to our mouth and teeth.
Next time, do more. Check your gums for signs of gingivitis or periodontitis
Gingivitis causes your gums to turn bright red or purple, tender and painful to the touch. It causes bleeding during brushing and causes halitosis.
Periodontitis causes persistent bad breath, red or swollen, tender and bleeding. It makes chewing painful and loosens teeth.
Dental problems are often signs of potential medical problems of the lungs, heart, digestive system, or oral cancer.
Take changes in your mouth seriously and visit a doctor immediately if you see above signs.
4. Changes on skin:
Our skin undergoes drastic changes as we grow old – typically called signs of aging, i.e., it becomes soft, gets wrinkled, and liver spots start marring our face and hands.
These are unavoidable. But if a liver spot starts growing and feels itchy, a visit to a dermatologist is a necessity.
Limit sun exposure to avoid unnecessarily damaging your skin or getting melanoma – a type of skin cancer that is often deadly.
Have a regular skin check up. Take note, however, that a lot of things can happen to your skin, i.e., chemical exposure, scalding, etc, affecting its health. So have a skin check as often as necessary.
5. Shortness of breath:
Loss of stamina is another unwholesome consequence of aging. But if you ran out of breath doing things you easily did before without gasping for air, immediately consult your doctor to avoid potential medical problems.
Unexplained loss of stamina can be signs of lung or heart problems.
6. Home hazards:
There is no place like home. Sadly, home is also a rich source of potential accidents waiting to happen.
Home accident statistics paint a very grim picture. Every year, 18,000 Americans die from injuries due to home accidents – the second most common location for accidents.
They can be due to falls, poisonings, suffocation and drowning, unsafe storage of medications too high settings of water heaters, gunshot wounds, and many more.
Particularly vulnerable, especially to falls, are elderly people due to poor eyesight, unsteady balance, and deteriorating cognitive skills.
Every year one in three Americans, 65 and older, suffers a fall causing moderate to severe injuries, or early death.
These accidents are not due to some pre-determined fate, but from home hazards which are as obvious as traffic road signs, i.e., frayed and torn carpet, slippery floors, wrong placement of lamp stands, lamp stands, electrical wirings across corridors or living rooms, broken electric wire insulation, leaking gas lines, damaged or broken chair legs, poor ventilation and poor lighting. The list can go on and on.
Though very obvious, seniors, particularly those who live alone, are normally indifferent or uncaring about these signs until disaster strikes.
Growing old, though probably the most exciting time of one’s life, carries some risks and challenges that can potentially result in serious medical conditions if not heeded.
While some seniors need assistance in mitigating these risks and challenges, awareness and common sense are all it takes to fix or eliminate in most cases.
Old bodies take time to heal from illnesses and medical problems – and expensive too. So take heed of these signs that can spoil your happy retirement.
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