There could be many reasons why you experience certain symptoms. It could be harmless or it could be something serious. To find out, a doctor should be consulted.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on February 5, 2020. It has since been updated.
Knowing what is normal for your body is the most important step to staying healthy. It makes it easier to know when something is not right and going to see a health care provider. There are times when the symptoms are not too obvious and you are left wondering if you should seek help or not. You could be experiencing some unexpected changes in your body and even if they seem mild you should get it checked out.
For instance, if you experience shortness of breath when you run it's normal but when it happens out of nowhere it can be alarming. Even sudden weight loss, when you haven't been working towards it, can be a sign of something serious for which a doctor should be consulted, according to Mayo Clinic.
Many of us would be happy to lose weight without having to do a lot for it but if you experience unexpected weight loss there could be multiple other reasons behind it. You could have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), diabetes, depression, liver disease, cancer or malabsorption disorders, which could be affecting how your body absorbs nutrients. Unexpected weight loss can be a serious problem if you lost more than 10 pounds or five percent of your body weight in the past six to 12 months, and you’re not obese. If you have experienced this then you should consult your doctor, as per Mayo Clinic.
When you're doing a heavy workout or are in extreme temperatures or have obesity or are at a high altitude, having shortness of breath is expected. If you're not facing any of these conditions and are still short of breath it could be due to an underlying medical condition. If the symptoms are sudden and extreme, you should see a doctor urgently. It could be a sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism), and other heart and lung problems. You could also be experiencing sudden shortness of breath if you experience a panic attack.
This is one of the most common symptoms for which people seek medical attention and it shouldn't be ignored at all. There can be many reasons why this takes place. It could be because of disturbances in the brain, the gastrointestinal system, vision or the inner ear. If the episode lasts more than 60 minutes and comes with more symptoms like nausea and vomiting, you should see a doctor. It is also related to health issues including high blood pressure, low blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, anemia, dehydration and heart conditions, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Experiencing vaginal discharge, apart from menstrual bleeding, from time to time is normal but when it changes color or has on odor, it shouldn't be ignored. The vagina releases some fluid that helps to keep the vagina clean. Normally, the fluid is thin and clear or milky white and without an unpleasant odor, as per MedicineNet. If you experience an increase in the amount of vaginal discharge, a different color, abnormal odor or consistency, or pain, itching, or burning, it could be something serious like bacterial vaginosis, gonorrhea, yeast infection, or in the worst, cervical or endometrial cancer.
The most common heart attack symptom among women is chest pain (angina) or discomfort, as per the American Heart Association. However, there are some symptoms that women experience differently than men in case of a heart attack. Women are slightly more likely to go through common symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.