9 Symptoms That Should Never Be Ignored

October 05, 2019

Have you been complaining about the way you feel for days, weeks, or even months, but believing it’ll get better on its own? Sometimes the symptoms we complain about are easily remedied through a lifestyle change such as a better diet and more sleep. But other times, what we’re experiencing could be a sign of something more serious. Let’s take a look at the top 9 critical symptoms that patients ignore, but really shouldn’t.

Indigestion or Heartburn

We’ve all eaten something that didn’t sit well with our stomach. Certain foods such as spicy or fried foods can be tough to properly digest, triggering a sensation known as heartburn. Occasional heartburn, especially after you just treated yourself to something unhealthy, isn’t much to worry about, but frequent heartburn can signify one of two more serious conditions: GERD and heart attacks.

According to a study published in the World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is when stomach acid is finding its way back into the esophagus, causing that familiar discomfort in the upper stomach. Chronic GERD can begin as stomach inflammation and progress to ulcers, bleeding, and an increased risk of esophageal cancer.

Heartburn can also be a sign of a heart attack in the elderly or those with a higher risk of cardiovascular issues, according to the American Heart Association. If you notice heartburn is accompanied by sweating and pain on your left side, you need to get medical attention immediately.

Lump or Mass 

According to a study in the British Journal of General Practice, more than half of people won’t report, or will under-report symptoms related to cancer, including lumps or masses found on the body. 

More often than not, having a lump or mass is nothing to worry about as the majority will turn out to be benign or noncancerous. But if you have a family history of cancer, especially breast cancer, you need to get that lump or mass checked out. In fact, you should get it checked out even if there’s no cancer in your family history, just to confirm that it’s benign. 

We recommend immediately seeing a specialist if the lump or mass has appeared out of nowhere or has grown in size at a rapid rate.

Weight Loss 

Losing weight because you’re actively trying to lose weight is nothing to worry about; however, if you experience sudden weight loss with no explanation, you need to see a doctor. 

There are many reasons for unexplained weight loss, and none of them are particularly good. Here are the most common conditions that are connected to a sudden drop in weight:

  • Thyroid issue
  • Infection
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer

With that said, a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine claims that while most people jump cancer as the first conclusion, one out of every three patients with unexplained weight loss is actually having an issue with their gastrointestinal tract such as an inflammatory bowel disease.

Fatigue

Everyone has had those stretches where we skimp on sleep, and then try to catch up on the weekend, sleeping for 10 hours or more. But if you’re experiencing true fatigue — always feeling tired, eyes barely staying open, and looking rundown — despite a healthy night of sleep, you should visit your doctor. 

According to American Family Physician, chronic fatigue could be a sign of something more serious including diabetes, infections, kidney disease, liver disease, congestive heart failure, and certain forms of cancer.

Leg Cramps 

Who hasn’t stood up and experienced that pins and needles feeling after sitting on their legs the wrong way? This is nothing to worry about, but if you find that your legs are cramping during everyday activities, especially climbing stairs and going from sitting to standing, something more could be going on.

A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that chronic leg cramping could be the result of peripheral artery disease. This is when clogged arteries prevent proper blood flow.

Size and Color Changes in Moles

Surprisingly, people still tend to ignore one of the most common reasons to see a specialist: changes in their moles.

A mole is a raised and darker circle on the skin. More often than not, moles are completely harmless. However, if you notice that a mole is changing size, shape, and color, it’s time to get to the dermatologist as this could be a sign of a cancerous mole or melanoma.

Abnormal Snoring 

Snoring, on its own, is typically not much to worry about. Sure, it can be annoying for a loved one or roommate, but normal snoring tends to happen because of an awkward sleeping position or alcohol consumption, to name two examples.

However, if you are excessively snoring and you’re waking yourself up at night, especially because you feel like you can’t breathe, this could be a tell-tale sign of a condition called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Sleep apnea can also contribute to the feeling of extreme fatigue because you’re not able to enter a deep sleep state.

A simple sleep study can catch sleep apnea and help your doctor prescribe the right course of treatment.

Thirst

We tend not to think of being thirsty as a symptom of a serious medical condition, but extreme thirst, despite hydrating yourself, might be a sign of certain metabolic-based diseases.

Diabetes, for example, is a metabolic disease that produces excess thirst so the body can flush out excess sugar or glucose.

Visit your doctor to request a blood panel to discover if you have a metabolic condition that needs to be addressed.

Memory Loss 

Some of us have brain fog until we get our morning coffee. This is nothing to worry about. With that said, if you’re starting to notice that you’re forgetting larger and more common pieces of information more frequently, this could be an early sign of a cognitive issue.

Memory loss is traditionally connected with certain types of infections, tumors, and cognitive decline conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Don’t Wait or Procrastinate – Make That Appointment

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, don’t wait any longer to get it checked out. It’s better to spend some cash on an appointment and walk away with peace of mind than to take a risk by ignoring your symptoms.

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