If I were to ask you if you were healthy, you would answer based on how you’re currently feeling.
So if you weren’t coughing, sneezing, dizzy or have a headache, you would probably say you were quite healthy. But having symptoms to an illness isn’t necessarily the only way to measure your health. There are many other ways our bodies try to tell us that something is wrong that, frankly, we ignore.
Health is measured in numerous ways, and doesn’t just fall on the presence of symptoms. Instead of relying on symptoms to determine your health, look at some of these signs of how your body is trying to tell you that you’re unhealthy.
Our sleeping patterns usually are never associated with being healthy or not. We generally tend to link it to our daily lives and how things are going. But how we sleep, or how awake we feel throughout the day, can actually reveal how healthy we are.
When we are stressed, our bodies pump out cortisol. Usually by the time we are ready to sleep, cortisol levels should drop so that we are relaxed. When you can’t sleep, it could be a sign that your cortisol levels are remaining high and keeping your body in a “fight or flight” stage. Lack of sleep has been associated with weakening the immune system, so you become sick more often. If you don’t think that your irregular sleep patterns aren’t a sign of poor health, think again.
Likewise, if you are constantly tired, this isn’t a reflection of simply being busy. When you’re tired, it reveals that your body is “burned out.” Whether from activity, from stress, or simply by trying to function properly, tiredness is a sign of poor health. Pinpointing why exactly you’re tired is your first step to feeling better. Maybe your body is toxic from poor food choices, or you’re overexerting yourself trying to do too much, or you could have a thyroid problem. All of these are viable causes for tiredness and improving any of these areas can get you back on the right track to better health.
When we go to the bathroom, or don’t go, we can learn quite a bit about our health. For starters, how are your bowel movements? Would you consider yourself regular?
If you’re only going once a day or once every other day, this is not healthy. Essentially, every time we consume a meal our bodies break down the food and expel it in a process called “castro-colic reflex.” When our bodies do not get rid of the waste – we become constipated – toxins can build up which can lead to inflammation or even enter the bloodstream. So the importance of going to the bathroom is essential to good health.
Easy ways to improve digestion are eating more fiber and drinking more water. If you continue to have constipation issues, it’s best to speak with your doctor.
Other signs of poor health lie within our urine. Urine should be light yellow to clear in color. But if it’s dark yellow take note, you’re probably dehydrated. Just because you’re drinking coffee a few times a day does not mean you’re staying hydrated. Coffee is a diuretic so although it makes us go, we’re not staying hydrated.
More than half of our body is made up of water, and just a small drop of one to two percent in fluid within the body is enough to cause foggy thinking. Getting in your eight glasses a day is important for proper bodily functions to take place.
Sure, your grandkids are getting older so it’s natural they would be taller than you, but if you’re noticing you can’t reach items you once could, it could be a sign of bone loss. Bone loss is often associated with aging, but it doesn’t have to be! There are easy ways to maintain bone density.
Exercising, for example is a great way to strengthen your bones and keep density intact. Weight-bearing exercises, like lifting weights or aerobics like light running or dancing are effective means to strengthen bones. Also ensure you are eating a bone-friendly diet. Foods like almonds, salmon and dark leafy greens will provide you with the nutrients you need to keep your bones healthy.
You may think that snoring means you’re in a deep sleep, but it’s a serious red flag for being unhealthy. Snoring is a sign of sleep apnea – a sleeping disorder where you actually stop breathing because the airways become blocked.
Sleep apnea usually occurs among those who are over 60, but other risk factors include being overweight, family history, alcohol use, having a thicker neck, and nasal congestion. Sleep apnea can be a serious health issue because every time you stop breathing, oxygen stops going to the brain. Sleep apnea is also linked to high blood pressure, fatigue and liver problems.
If your partner is constantly nudging you at night because of your snoring, go get it checked out as you could be on a path to poor health.
If you thought that unless you had the sniffles or your stomach was in knots that you were unhealthy, think again. Our bodies have unique ways of signaling to us that there is something going on. It’s important to listen to our bodies so that these signs are not overlooked causing the illness or ailment to worsen over time.
If you feel that there is something going on with changes in your health, seeing your doctor is always wise. But until that point, by becoming aware of your body and nourishing it properly, you can ensure you have continued good health for years to come.
When it comes to high blood pressure – or hypertension – there are many factors that come into play: Diet, weight, smoking and alcohol use can all be attributed to your rising blood pressure. But does lack of sleep increase hypertension? In fact, it does. Getting a good night’s rest not only determines your energy level the next day, but plays a large role in hypertension.
Have you ever found yourself on an energy slump in the afternoon and reaching for a quick fix? Maybe your mind has wandered to the idea of a triple espresso, a Red Bull or a seemingly innocent “energy boosting” health drink.