Most of us will have the occasional dip in our general health that we take less seriously than we might, for one reason or another. It would take a while to get to a doctor, perhaps, or we aren’t especially concerned about this particular aspect of our health. Taking it less seriously doesn’t necessarily mean that we are ignoring it – it could be that we tell ourselves “if this is still happening in a week, I’ll do something about it” or that we will wait for it to get worse before acting upon it. Either way, we all know that it happens.
The thing is, we really shouldn’t be cavalier with any aspect of our health. Even if it is inconvenient to pay attention to our well-being, it is nonetheless vital to treat it with the seriousness it deserves. As the examples below make clear, there is nothing to be gained by letting a symptom slide – and potentially a lot that can be lost.
Sometimes a benign symptom is the first sign of something serious
We’d all fancy our chances of diagnosing a serious health condition if they presented with their most obvious symptom first, but very often that’s not the case. A cancerous lump might not become evident to a person until a very late stage, but other symptoms could be in plain sight. If you suddenly lose a lot of weight without really trying, it can be the first sign of a number of different cancers. Indigestion suffered when eating something you usually don’t have a problem with can be an indication of an imminent heart attack.
Sometimes ignoring something minor can lead to something major
There are plenty of conditions that are nothing much to worry about once they are diagnosed, and for which the treatment is fairly straightforward. However, leaving them untreated can end up in a far more severe condition. Digestive discomfort is no fun, but generally tolerable – but it can be due to polyps in the intestine which can be easily removed. The jeopardy here is that if they are not removed, they can become cancerous. Meanwhile, minor hearing loss can easily be remedied with the right hearing aids, and it’s wise to seek treatment early. Years of dealing with worsening hearing loss can increase the risk of dementia.
Sometimes surprising symptoms are inter-related
Paying attention to your symptoms may not always pay off at the moment, but having a fuller picture is never a bad thing, as it can be something to refer back to later on if another symptom becomes evident. Sometimes, after all, fatigue is just fatigue. However, if you later notice that your fingers go white or bluish when you’re stressed, then it can be beneficial to remember that you’ve been feeling fatigued, as these are two of the primary symptoms of lupus.
Obsessing over symptoms, especially when they are minor and sporadic, is not a helpful thing to do. But being aware of what is happening and when it happens can help you seek the right treatment and find the clues that will help a doctor make you feel ten times better.