Health and fitness

5 Warning signs you need to visit a doctor

Not every ache and pain requires a trip to the doctor, especially now in the middle of a pandemic. But when do you know when you should consult with a specialist? Here are five symptoms you should watch out for.

By Nathan Arciaga

You've been there: feeling under the weather and not knowing whether you should go to the doctor or not. A debilitating headache, a persistent cough, a general feeling of malaise—these have all driven you to pop a non-prescription pill or two. As a rule of thumb, though, you should always err on the side of caution and see a medical professional when possible. These five symptoms will warrant a trip to the doctor ASAP.

Sudden and unexplained weight loss

Your weight will fluctuate, give or take, one or two pounds every day. It is because you experience fluctuating levels of appetite and stress. Another factor may be the amount of physical exercise you did during the day. Losing a significant amount of weight when you are not trying to should not be taken for granted. Weight loss is an early symptom of a wide variety of serious medical conditions like diabetes and cancer.

Just how significant is a significant weight loss? According to the study ," significant weight loss means five percent of your total body weight in six months to a year. So, if you’re 150 pounds in January and went down to 140 lbs. in a few months without trying to lose weight, you may want to schedule a check-up.

Getting tired easily

You get tired, especially after a long day’s work. However, it’s a different situation if you get tired while doing things that usually didn’t bother you before. A good indicator is climbing stairs. If you’re usually out of breath when you get to the top of the staircase, your body could be telling you to go to the doctor. Running out of breath while climbing up the stairs may be a symptom of a heart condition or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) like emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

Changes in your skin

The skin is an often overlooked indicator of what’s happening inside your body. Dry and itchy skin is typical, especially in certain seasons. However, sudden dryness or itchiness, or even discoloration, could be a sign of something serious. A dark patch of skin on your neck, armpit, and groin may indicate high insulin levels. It might also be an early sign of diabetes. On the other hand, thick, dry, and scaly skin could hint at high blood pressure and kidney problems. If you have any of these symptoms, visit a doctor ASAP.

Frequent dizziness

Skipping breakfast and quickly standing up may make you feel a little lightheaded, but constant dizziness is something you should pay attention to. Do you have pale skin? Are you always weak in the knees and not in the rom-com kind of way? Do you always have to steady yourself? These are classic symptoms of anemia. Recurrent instances of dizziness could also require a visit with your cardiologist, as it could also point to potential heart trouble.

Night sweats

If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, with your beddings and clothes drenched in sweat, even if the AC is on full blast, you could be suffering from nocturnal hyperhidrosis or night sweats. It could be a symptom of many things—from the natural and slightly worrisome (like menopause and sleep apnea) to critical infections like tuberculosis, endocarditis (enlargement of the heart valve), or even cancer. When you suffer from night sweats it could be nothing or it could be anything, so it’s best to see a doctor and get it sorted out as soon as possible.

Of course, aside from these five, check for COVID-19 symptoms like fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or skin rashes. Serious symptoms include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement. If you have these symptoms, consult with a doctor right away.

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