From time to time people get sick. A little rest and relaxation usually gets them back on track; feeling better. When symptoms don’t seem to dissipate after a few days in bed, it just might be time to take a closer look at what the problem is. Physicians say in some cases common symptoms are ignored, but shouldn’t be. In fact, there are situations where turning a blind eye to the symptoms leads to emergency care being required.
It is not unusual to lose a little bit of weight when you are fighting the common flu or cold; however, if your weight loss is significant or rapid then it could be a sign of something more serious. If you’ve lost up to 10 per cent of your weight in the last 6 months you need to see a doctor. You could be having difficulty absorbing nutrients. This is called malabsorption disorder. Other conditions associated with sudden weight loss include cancer, overactive thyroid, diabetes, liver disease, and depression.
When you have a fever that just doesn’t want to subside it should also be checked out by a doctor. The general rule is after 3 days. A high fever can be a sign of infection such as a urinary tract infection, kidney infection, throat infection or even tuberculosis. Untreated the infection can spread to other parts of the body. Some forms of cancer have also been associated with lingering fevers. Fevers don’t normally constitute an emergency, yet in the case of small children a very high temperature can lead to convulsions.
Three quarters of Americans suffer from occasional headaches. Some of these people complain that the pounding in their head and temples is often part of a virus that has them confined to the couch for a few days. Close to 30 million Americans suffer from debilitating migraines. Many are being treated by professionals and applying preventative approaches. If you don’t have a history of migraines and have excruciating head pain or a headache that just won’t go away, it shouldn’t be ignored. It might be a monster size headache called “thunderclap”, meningitis or a ruptured brain aneurysm. According to John Hopkins Medical Institute half of all ruptured aneurysms cause sudden death.
When we are tired, irritable, lose our appetite, have digestive problems or become more susceptible to illness, we could be suffering from fatigue. We all become exhausted, particularly when we push ourselves too hard. Preventative steps can be taken to avoid this unpleasant feeling. Certain illnesses such as the flu or bacterial and viral infections can create fatigue too. However, if fatigue lasts a long time it could be a sign of a long list of conditions; too many to outline here, but one of the popular theories about chronic fatigue is that it has a strong link to toxins. We are exposed to a large number of toxins through food, water, household products and the environment. Some studies show that even low dose exposure to many toxins can have an impact on our immune systems. Toxins have been connected to a number of autoimmune conditions. Scientists say the toxins interfere with the immune system’s ability to protect our body from foreign invaders so environmental factors become more of a risk in predisposing us to autoimmune disease and other illnesses.
Having the same aches and pains for a long period of time could also be a sign that something just isn’t right. If your pain is in your joints or you notice swelling, redness or tingling for example, you should seek medical attention. This could be a sign of an auto immune problem or some other serious medical condition. There are over 80 different types of autoimmune disorders and many rheumatologists will tell you that the sooner they are treated, the better chance you have of leading a normal life. Several studies have also shown that aches and pains can be associated with vitamin deficiencies, most notably, a lack of vitamin D. Not having enough vitamin D can put you at higher risk for a whole host of diseases.
While doctors don’t want people to race to the emergency department every time they get a fever and ache or pain, they do want them to take note of how long their symptoms persist, and be aware of what is normal and what is not.