By Emmanuel Binitie
EXPERIENCING AN OUT - of - left field health concern? Don't panic, but don't keep it to yourself.
Tell your doctor.
SpringsComm member Laraba's health mystery started with some stomach upset. "Then I suddenly started experiencing joint pain, swelling - I couldn't bend my elbows to pick up my young nephew" She recalls. "I was also suffering crazy fatigue, plus numbness of fingers and toes."
Laraba wisely sought medical attention and discovered she had Celiac disease - a severe reaction to gluten. The moral of Laraba's story? Never assume a strange health occurrence that comes out of nowhere is harmless. The SpringsComm Connection asked some of the country's top physicians to outline uncommon symptoms that can be serious, and that they want their patients to tell them about ASAP.
Sudden hearing loss
It's Saturday night out of the blue, you're dear in your left ear. You figure it's blocked earwax, so you wiggle your ear - but you still can't hear. You'll call your doc on Monday, right?
"No. head to the emergency room," says Michael D Seidman, M.D., director of otologic/neurotologic surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. "Most cases of sudden hearing loss turn out to be idiopathic, meaning we never know why they happen, and hearing does return. However, this can also be a presenting symptom of a tumor, or mean you could be a stroke."
The National Stroke Association says other sudden symptoms that could indicate a stroke or transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke) include difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes; numbness or weakness on one side; trouble walking, talking or understanding words; and severe headache. Many of these symptoms can be confused with benign conditions such as migraine, but don't take a chance: If you experience any of these symptoms as briefly as 30 seconds to 10 minutes call for help.
Lines across your fingernails
Have you noticed skinny red brown marks running in the direction your nails grow? They could be splinter hemorrhages. "They can indicate endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves," explains Nieca Goldberg, M.D., director of the Women's Heart Program at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.
"Other symptoms that may indicate this condition include chills, fatigue and shortness of breath."
Gasping for air.
In the event of breathing difficulties, when should you worry? "Whenever you're doing your normal level of activity or exercise and experience a change, such as realizing you're quite out of breath, call your doctor immediately," urges Emmanuel Binitie, Dr. at Emaluck Institute.
Causes of shortness of breath can range from low blood pressure to asthma to a heart attack or pulmonary embolism, according to the Mayo Clinic. It's impossible to know the potential severity of this problem unless you get it checked out.
Blood during a bathroom visit
If you notice blood in your stool, or even a bit of blood on toilet tissue after a bowel movement, don't ignore it. "This could be a sign of cancer," says Jacqueline L. Wolf, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "It could also be something less alarming, like hemorrhoids; a condition like diverticulitis, especially if the blood is bright red; or colitis.
You should always tell your doctor if you see signs of anal bleeding.
You probably figure you bit the inside of your mouth while chewing food, but canker Sores can also be a little-known sign of Celiac disease, explains SpringsComn member Stefano Guandalini, M.D., founder and medical director of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. He says, "There are many unexpected symptoms that indicate Celiac. The good news is you can be diagnosed starting with simple blood test, then begin the process of eliminating your symptoms with a gluten - free diet."
Laraba knows that when it comes to feeling better, knowledge is power: following her treatment, she's feeling great and imparts what she's learned as the Celiac Disease Center's executive director. "I think any time you have a weird symptom, the key is to trust your gut," she explains. "Dont think you're being a hypochondriac. Press for a diagnosis; you know your body beat."