We can all agree by now that staying healthy has become extremely complicated. We need to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and to keep an overall sense of wellness. First things first, what really matters is to feel good, and to feel healthy.
While we know that suffering from a health condition or being classified as overweight might be considered “unhealthy”, there are other ways of discovering if you need to improve your health. Some of these signs are more obvious than others, so pay attention and see what you can do. Here are 12 signs you’re not as healthy as you thought:
You are bloated
You might be following all the orders your doctor has given to you: you eat all the greens, go organic as much as you can, exercise regularly, and get eight hours of sleep every night. Still, it doesn’t mean your health is in good hands.
While it’s not unusual to feel bloated sometimes after a good dinner, a subtle symptom like this can lead to something bigger. There are simple reasons why you might feel bloated, like constipation, overeating, or reflux.
And then, there are serious conditions, like inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and because of taking certain medications. If it’s just a one-time thing, then it’s not difficult to ignore, but if it happens quite often and it lasts more than 12 hours, then you should go to the doctor.
Snoring might happen when the air can’t move freely through your mouth and nose when you’re asleep. It can happen if you have nasal polyps, adenoids, or just a stuffy nose. Again, if you’re a bit overweight or you had a lot to drink, it might happen.
According to Albert Wu, MD, director of the Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, snoring is also a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. This happens because your upper airway is repeatedly blocked while you’re asleep, which causes you to stop breathing for a few seconds.
You are gassy
You might be surprised, but passing gas 13 to 20 times a day is actually healthy. Although, if it’s a lot more or a lot less, then it could be a problem. Because if you’re not passing gas, it means you don’t have a healthy bowel while passing too much gas might mean you have a food intolerance, or a digestive disorder like gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or celiac disease.
If you suffer from persistent and sudden flatulence, you could check to see if you have other symptoms, like abdominal pain, a swollen stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, unintended weight loss, severe heartburn, or even blood in the bowel movement.
You are always super tired
If you always feel a bit lethargic, no matter how much you sleep, it’s worth talking to your doctor. But be aware, because there’s a difference between drowsiness and fatigue. When you’re drowsy, you feel the need to sleep, while fatigue is just a constant lack of energy and motivation.
It can come as a response to many things, such as excessive physical activity, stress, or even boredom, but it can also be a sign of some health problems. Persistent fatigue is a sign of anemia, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, chronic infection, thyroid disorders, or arthritic conditions. It can also be caused by anxiety disorders or even depression.
You can’t sleep well
This doesn’t have anything to do with having a hard time falling asleep when you aren’t tired at all, but if you can’t get any sleep at all, despite a deep feeling of exhaustion, you should visit your doctor. Acute insomnia can appear due to a lot of stress at work or home, or a traumatic event.
Chronic insomnia, on the other hand, can simply be caused by medications such as cold remedies, stimulants, or antidepressants. Also, insomnia can appear as a symptom of anxiety or depression, but also when you suffer from chronic pain, overactive thyroid, GERD, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Your breath smells
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is the most common symptom for dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease, according to a 2018 study published in “The Open Dentistry Journal”. The culprit could just be the garlic you ate at breakfast, of course.
But if it’s not, then you should think of something more serious. Bad breath usually appears as a sign of bacteria on your teeth and tongue, or simply because you haven’t properly brushed or flossed your teeth. But in some cases, it’s linked to sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsilitis, and gastrointestinal issues. If you brush and floss correctly and it still doesn’t seem to go away, then see a dentist.
You get headaches constantly
Headaches, as we know, are the most common form of pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In theory, they are completely harmless. But in fact, some headaches are way more serious than others.
If you suffer from a headache that is extremely severe and came out of nowhere, and it’s accompanied by a stiff neck, blow to the head, or pain in your ear, you should visit your doctor. Plus, if you suffer from a headache and fever, convulsion, confusion, and fainting, it’s worth looking for medical attention. These symptoms might point to a more serious illness.
Your muscles cramp up
Everyone has a muscle cramp once in a while, especially if you’ve recently been through a tough workout. Even more, there’s a study published in 2018 in “Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology” that suggests how exercise-associated muscle cramps are extremely common during sports.
BUT, there are some conditions that have manifested through leg cramps, like dehydration, having low levels of electrolytes, the administration of certain medications, suffering from a nerve disorder, or an underactive thyroid gland.
But, according to the European Journal of Neurology, there are many aspects of cramping we haven’t quite managed to unwrap. It’s important to pay attention to how often you have muscle cramps, so your doctor can understand what’s causing them.
Your nails have a funky color
Nails are supposed to be pink, but if your nails fall in another category of color, speak to your doctor. There are funky-colored nails that shouldn’t spark any worry, as the American Academy of Dermatology has mentioned, but they could also be a sign of many skin disorders.
For example, blue nails can signify that you’re not getting enough oxygen in your bloodstream. White nails can show liver disease or diabetes, while yellow nails can signify a nail infection or liver disease. Even more, dusky red half-moon nails are a sign of heart disease, arthritis, lupus, alopecia areata, or dermatomyositis.
You’re losing weight
Pay attention, if you started a new diet or an exercise program, then losing weight is completely normal. But if you’re not actively trying to lose weight, but you’re losing over five pounds effortlessly, you need to go visit a doctor.
There’s a five-pound rule that works as a safe guide, and everyone could fluctuate around that number. But if you’re progressively losing weight, it might be something bigger involved. You can lose this much weight from stress or chronic illnesses, such as digestive disorders or infections, or chronic anemia and cancer. If you’ve lost more than 10 pounds over 6 months or less, then it’s worrisome.
You are gaining weight
The same as with unexplained weight loss, unexplained weight gain is worth seeing your doctor. A lot of people will try to dismiss it, thinking that they have control over it. But before they know, they’ll have 10, 20, or even 30 pounds in excess.
This can be a sign of an underactive thyroid, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or Cushing Syndrome. If you’ve started a new medication, this can be a side effect. Corticosteroids, birth control pills, diabetes meds, and even some drugs that treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression, can cause you to gain more weight. If you visit your doctor in time, it will be easier to reverse it!
You are losing a lot of hair
If you only shed between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day it’s completely normal, as the American Academy of Dermatology has mentioned. But, if you’re losing more than that, it’s worth going to the doctor. While hair loss is quite normal in the aging process, it can also just be a cause of heredity or hormone changes.
There are also some medical conditions that could include hair loss, scalp infections, thyroid disorders, immune disorders, or sudden traumatic events. Also, there are a couple of medicines that might imply hair loss, for example, chemotherapy, or treatments for arthritis, high blood pressure, or heart disease.
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