13 General Health Symptoms You Must Not Ignore

Jan 26, 2018,

We all go through busy schedules every day, we stress ourselves, we endure a whole lot from failed contracts to someone not meeting up to a target, your taxi not arriving early as planned, your flight delayed; children acting funny and choosing the wrong time to fall sick, even though it is not deliberate. More often than not, we yank our bodies from pillar to post on a daily basis.

And oh! Vacation?! Does anyone even talk about that anymore?

Going through all these on a daily basis wears down the body (a common slogan says, “body no be firewood”) after a long duration of hyper-drive. However, as subtle as it may seem, it sends out some warning signals like the lighthouse on a lone island guiding sailors to berth. The body sends out its signals reminding us that we need to berth (we need adequate rest). Narrating those subtle symptoms to a doctor, running a routine medical checkup or cessation of that chronic self-medication of yours and seeking expert review: it might even be taking a loved one to see the doctor.

Here and now, we would take a look at those subtle medical symptoms which we all seem to be wary of; we have suggested 13 most common ones. Please take your time, read through carefully as you may prevent health problems and save someone’s life.

  • Sudden severe headache

This headache needs to be typified as I’m so certain that the feeling of a headache would not be far from you. However, if your head aches like it has never ached before, if it comes suddenly, if it looks like the clapping of a thunder (thunders can be quite scary), then it is a scary headache. It is scary because that kind of headache might be a harbinger for worse underlying disease such as a stroke.

Hold on! Now is not the right time to grab a paracetamol (our friendly neighborhood medication) especially if you are elderly and you have got a family history of diabetes or hypertension. It isn’t the time to lay back to take a nap either, you need to see the doctor ASAP!

  • Persistent abdominal pain

Miss Shobowale Ireti walked into the hospital around 5:10PM with complaints of abdominal pain that has been increasing in severity for the past 3 days. She considered it a waste of her time as she has been self-medicating with Buscopan and Flagyl. Her fiancé pleaded with her before she could stop by. The doctor requested an abdominal ultrasound scan… it came out to be an ovarian cyst that was bleeding slowly.

Every abdominal pain has a particular location, characteristics and pattern of appearance. Abdominal pain is never to be ignored. Although it is mostly associated with passage of loose stool, it could be a symptom to more disturbing conditions such as bowel perforation or ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb) where emergency surgery would be needed to save one’s life.

  • Persistent fever

Fever is a pointer to a myriad of events occurring in the body. It is like having all the rear lights of your car on at the same time, the driver behind you would be totally confused. Every fever needs to be properly investigated especially when it becomes persistent. Not every fever is caused by malaria and typhoid (Nigeria’s most wanted criminals). Talking to a doctor whenever you develop a fever is vital. Random usage of un-prescribed medications could breed resistant strains of parasites and bacteria.

  • Continuous diarrhea and vomiting

Diarrhea and vomiting are not immutably related to each other. Anyone can occur without the other independently, although in food poisoning, it is common to find both. Persistent diarrhea and/or vomiting is dangerous to the body; it depletes the body of its fluid, one loses body electrolytes. As the symptom progresses, you may begin to feel a tingling sensation in your fingers and toes. You shouldn’t wait for this to happen before seeking help. Diarrhea and vomiting should be tackled first hand in children. In extreme cases, it can lead to confusion and coma.

  • Visual problems

Our eyes are designed for optimum vision, however it is common to have problem with this very important sense organ. Visual problems can range from reduction in visual capability, seeing objects floating around, pain with redness, profuse discharge with matting of the eyelids to vision being clouded. These problems may result from an injury, a blow to the head, allergies or infections, among other things. You should seek urgent medical intervention should you have any visual problems.

  • Chest pain

Every chest pain should be diligently reviewed and investigated by a medical doctor. Although the pain can result from trauma, there are also individual organ dysfunctions that can result in chest pain. The pain may be related or unrelated to meals, affected by exercise or not, related to breathing episodes or sleeping problems. It is unwise to regard a chest pain as one of those symptoms that “would pass away”.

  • Dizziness and fainting attacks

In a state of hunger or prolonged fast, you can feel dizzy or even swoon. However, a repeated episode of dizziness or fainting attack is very dangerous as it cuts off the supply of blood to your brain; this can result in several brain abnormalities. Head injury can also result for these repeated falls. The doctor would ask you some questions; draw your blood to check your sugar level and access if your blood level is adequate amongst other investigations.

  • Leg swelling

It is common to have leg swelling after a very long flight. This is as a result of pooling of body fluids to the legs due to long sitting hours. However, if you have leg swelling often, it is more or less a symptom of a kidney, liver or heart disease. Especially if a dimple appears after you have applied pressure with the tip of your thumb. It is vital you are assessed by a professional if you have a leg swelling.

  • Painful urination

Urination is a very comforting release. Just imagine you holding in on to that full bladder for so long to eventually finding a good spot to let it all out, it feels heavenly. However, some people experience painful urination (dysuria). This is often due to a urinary tract infection even though there are other causes. Appropriate review is very vital.

  • Difficulty in breathing

Difficulty in breathing (dyspnea) can have many causes, ranging from weight gain to major issues such as heart attack, stroke, blood clots, lung infection and asthma.

  • Persistent cough

Cough can be a symptom of an upper respiratory tract infection which is mostly of viral origin. However, if you have a cough that has lasted for more than two weeks, such cough needs to be duly investigated especially if you have had contact with anyone with chronic cough or you are exposed to dust and dust-related particles from work.

  • Continuous weight loss

The only people permitted to lose a quantifiable amount of weight are babies in their first few days of life and those with overrating Body Mass Index (BMI). Continuous weight loss outside these parameters is threatening and requires immediate assessment (cancer being the most threatening of all).  

  • Continuous bleeding

To see blood ooze out of your body is quite uncomfortable and mostly painful, the irony of it is that it reminds us that we are humans. However, such bleeding should stop after some time. Bleeding is considered uncontrolled if it does not stop after five minutes of applying direct, steady pressure. Regardless of the cause (whether it's an injury or a medical condition such as leukemia or hemophilia — you need immediate medical assistance).


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