At mealtimes, you crave healthy vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. You faithfully work out at least three times each week. You even schedule a physical at your physician’s office every January. However, you sometimes wonder if you’re as healthy as you were 30, 20, or even 10 years ago.
Unfortunately, millions of people in the United States are oblivious to the serious medical conditions they have. According to the American Diabetes Association, 7.2 million Americans were living with undiagnosed cases of diabetes in 2015. The American Thyroid Association reported that as many as 60 percent of people who have thyroid disease in the United States are unaware of their problem. To increase your odds of living your golden years to the fullest, pay close attention to subtle signs from your body. The following signals often occur when something is wrong.
Sudden Weight Gain
Unintentional weight gain happens when you pack on pounds without increasing your intake of foods and liquids or decreasing your activity level. Sudden weight gain often occurs when your body starts retaining fluid. This condition, referred to as edema, can cause your arms, legs, hands, feet, stomach, or face to appear swollen.
Edema is commonly associated with heart failure or kidney disease. Taking certain medications can also make you retain fluid. Other medical reasons for sudden weight gain include hypothyroidism, hormonal changes, polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS, and cancerous tumors.
Unexpected Weight Loss
Many people might welcome the opportunity to lose a few pounds. However, like sudden weight gain, unexpected weight loss can signal an undiagnosed health problem. Cancer is a common culprit that causes you to lose weight. The most widespread types of cancer linked to shedding weight are pancreatic, lung, stomach, and esophageal.
A Change in Handwriting
A change in handwriting is one of the earliest signs of Parkinson’s disease. According to a 2013 Israeli research study, handwriting analysis identified people suffering the early stages of this disease more than 97 percent of the time.
Parkinson’s disease results when nerve cells in your brain become damaged or die. These affected nerve cells quit manufacturing the same amount of dopamine as they once did.
Dopamine is a chemical that alerts your brain to produce movements. A deficit of dopamine causes muscle stiffness in your hands and fingers. Therefore, the handwriting of Parkinson’s patients becomes small with words crowded together. Other early signs of this disease include a lost sense of smell and intense dreams that make you kick, punch, and thrash during your sleep.
Random Bouts of Anger
Many people associate depression with severe sadness. Interestingly, a lot of depressed individuals display uncharacteristic irritability or anger. According to a 2013 research study conducted at the University of California, Sand Diego, irritability and anger are linked to a more extreme, longer-lasting form of depression. A 2013 University of Michigan study found women experience depression more often than men. However, depressed men are more likely to exhibit irritability and anger.
Damage to Your Teeth
If the enamel of your teeth is wearing down, sugary foods and drinks may not be to blame, especially if the teeth at the back of your mouth are affected. Acid reflux is a gastrointestinal condition that can dissolve tooth enamel. Besides eroding your tooth enamel, acid reflux can also cause a persistent sore throat, unexplained wheezing, coughing, or a bad taste in your mouth. If left untreated, this condition can elevate your risk for developing esophageal cancer.
A Diagonal Crease in Your Earlobes
When getting dressed each morning, you probably don’t pay much attention to your earlobes. Remarkably, according to an extensive National Institutes of Health study, having a diagonal crease in your earlobes may signal an increased heart attack risk. The reason might stem from blocked circulation throughout the body.
Brittle, dry nails might indicate an iron or vitamin B12 deficiency. Having nails that easily chip or break is also a symptom of hypothyroidism. Other signals you might have hypothyroidism include cold hands and feet, weight gain, high triglycerides, and low energy levels.
Oftentimes, people’s bodies have uncanny ways of alerting them of trouble. If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned signs, don’t ignore it. Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss your concerns.
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