A Doc­tor’s Warn­ing

Doc­tor, Nu­tri­tion­ist and Au­thor, Sarah Brewer re­veals the health con­cerns you re­ally shouldn’t ig­nore...

No. 1 Magazine - - SCOTLAND’S NO.1 -

Any type of chest pain

There can be a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent rea­sons for chest pain as it can be caused by many dif­fer­ent con­di­tions. Some of which are more se­ri­ous than oth­ers, like a heart at­tack be­ing more se­ri­ous than a mus­cle spasm – both causes of chest pain. Of­ten it is dif­fi­cult, even for doc­tors, to tell these types of pains apart which is why chest pain should al­ways be taken se­ri­ously. If you find your­self ex­pe­ri­enc­ing trou­bles with your chest, seek med­i­cal ad­vice just to be on the safe side.

Sud­den weight loss

If you’re di­et­ing and liv­ing a healthy lifestyle, you may find your­self pleased when you drop a dress size but un­ex­plained weight loss should never be ig­nored. This could eas­ily be a sign of an un­di­ag­nosed ill­ness, so it’s best to check in with your GP to dis­cuss it. And re­mem­ber, sud­den weight loss isn’t al­ways ac­com­pa­nied by loss of ap­petite.

An un­usual lump (any­where!)

If you no­tice an un­usual lump any­where on your body, you should al­ways tell a doc­tor. While most lumps can be due to a non-se­ri­ous con­di­tion, they can also be an ur­gent tell-tale sign that you need treat­ment. It can be dif­fi­cult for doc­tors to tell dif­fer­ent lumps apart, so you may be re­ferred for a biopsy so the lump can be ex­am­ined un­der a mi­cro­scope and di­ag­nosed ac­cu­rately.

Re­turn­ing pain

We all get aches and pains from time to time. But if you no­tice a re­cur­rent pain that keeps com­ing back, such as a se­ri­ous headache, in­di­ges­tion, ab­dom­i­nal pain or chest ache for ex­am­ple, you should al­ways tell a doc­tor. This one is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for those who have other re­lated symp­toms such as weight loss, con­stant fa­tigue or lethargy.

Changes to your bowel move­ment

It’s time to stop be­ing em­bar­rassed about dis­cussing your bow­els. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that a change in bowel habit is one of the few ways your in­testines can show that some­thing is wrong. A change in bowel habit means open­ing your bowel more or less fre­quently than is usual for you. The stools may also change in con­sis­tency, so you de­velop con­sti­pa­tion, or a slow­ing down of bowel move­ments, or di­ar­rhoea and a speed­ing up of your in­testines. If this con­tin­ues for more than a week or two, seek med­i­cal ad­vice – ear­lier if you de­velop ab­dom­i­nal pain or no­tice blood or slime in your mo­tions.

Un­ex­pected blood loss

...from any­where! This can be a fright­en­ing symp­tom and one we’re sure you’re less likely to ig­nore but it’s bet­ter to be safe than sorry. If you find your­self cough­ing up blood, no­tice red­ness in your vomit, ex­pe­ri­ence un­ex­pected vagi­nal bleed­ing or see blood from any open­ing in the body, seek med­i­cal ad­vice as soon as pos­si­ble pos­si­ble.

Dif­fi­culty swal­low­ing or feel­ing full after eat­ing very lit­tle

Prob­lems with swal­low­ing are com­monly as­so­ci­ated with a sore throat or ton­sil­li­tis, but if you have per­sis­tent dif­fi­culty swal­low­ing with­out any pain, tell your doc­tor as soon as pos­si­ble. This can in­di­cate a prob­lem with the swal­low­ing mech­a­nism, throat, oe­soph­a­gus or stom­ach so it’s well worth your while to get it checked out.

A per­sis­tent, nag­ging cough or short­ness of breath

At cer­tain times of the year, it can feel like you are never cough or cold free. But if you find your­self suf­fer­ing from a per­sis­tent nag­ging cough or short­ness of breath, you should al­ways tell a doc­tor. A cough is caused by ir­ri­ta­tion of the air­ways, while breath­less­ness sug­gests that your lungs are not work­ing as well as they could be. Both symp­toms aren’t they worth ig­nor­ing, they symp­toms need check­ing out!

A hoarse voice or sore throat last­ing more than three weeks

A sore throat is usu­ally self-lim­it­ing and dis­ap­pears within about a week. If it lasts longer, you should bring it to a doc­tor’s at­ten­tion. Hoarse­ness may be due to prob­lems with the mus­cles or nerves around the voice box (lar­ynx) or with the vo­cal chords them­selves. Any un­ex­plained mouth ul­cer or sore­ness last­ing more than three weeks al­ways needs in­ves­ti­gat­ing. Never ig­nore a per­sis­tent sore throat or hoarse­ness last­ing more than three weeks.

A skin blem­ish that changes in any way or fails to heal within three weeks

Check­ing your skin reg­u­larly should be the norm for most peo­ple, es­pe­cially as you age. But it’s also worth ex­am­in­ing your blem­ishes and be­ing aware of any that are chang­ing. While in many cases, le­sions will turn out to be harm­less, it can be dif­fi­cult for even a doc­tor to know for cer­tain un­til the patch has been biop­sied and ex­am­ined un­der a mi­cro­scope. If di­ag­nosed early, the ma­jor­ity of skin can­cers can be re­moved and cured. Warn­ing signs to look out for are an ul­cer or sore that gets worse or fails to heal within three weeks, or a mark that starts to:

• De­velop a raised, rolled edge • Get big­ger • Turn darker • Go scaly • Itch • Weep

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