5 Health Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

Sometimes, seemingly harmless things can be an indication of more serious problems. Here are some signs you should get checked out in case they are indicative of some bigger health issue.

By Sahajiya Halder
23 Oct 2021

We tend to soldier on through ailments that seem minor, and often ignore health signs that do not appear to be all that serious at first glance. But some things should not be ignored, especially if they are sudden and have no explanations. These may be signs of some deeper underlying health concerns, and it is prudent to go to your doctor to have them checked out.


1. Sudden headache

Headaches may seem commonplace, but you should still take notice of them, especially if they seem sudden and severe. They can indicate many things, including serious health concerns. Dr. Sibabrata Banerjee, Senior Consultant Physician, Apollo Hospital, Kolkata, says, "Headaches can be of two types—chronic headache and acute headache. In case of acute headache, there is a chance of infection that has to be considered. From common cold to meningitis, headaches can happen for a lot of reasons." From mild tension headaches to migraine, your headache can be of many types. Watch out for other symptoms alongside your headache. "It is very important to see if the headache is accompanied by fever. If there is headache, fever, and vomiting at the same time, it has to be taken seriously. Sudden headaches are also a source of worry. So headaches should not be ignored", he continues.


2. Chest pain

Heartburn due to acidity can cause a burning sensation in the chest, which may be similar to chest pain that signifies heart attack. Symptoms of heart attack can start slowly, and you should watch out for any chest pain or tightness, especially in the wake of stressful events or exercising. Says Dr. Banerjee, "It is not always necessary for the chest pain to be on the left side for it to be related to the heart. Chest pain on the right side could also signal a heart related issue. It is important to pay attention to whether the chest pain is accompanied by sweating, pain radiating along the left arm, chest heaviness, or breathing difficulties." Symptoms of heart attack in women manifest differently than men, so it is important to be aware of that.


3. Bleeding during urination or bowel movement

Blood in urine could be due to a range of reasons such as infection (in the urinary tract, bladder or kidney), kidney stone, or cancer. If you notice blood in your faeces, it can be a result of issues such as hemorrhoids, fissures, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and so on. Persistent blood in your stool, along with other symptoms like change in your bowel habits, abdominal discomfort and unexplained weight loss, can be indicative of colorectal cancer

4. Yellow eyes

When the whites of your eyes turn yellow, it is usually a sign of jaundice. This yellow tint is also noticed on skin. This happens when there is an accumulation of bilirubin (a yellowish substance produced during the breakdown of red blood cells) in your body because it is not processed properly. Issues with your liver health, pancreas, or bile duct can be the underlying reason, so consult a gastroenterologist if you notice a yellowing of eyes and skin. Pay attention to other symptoms such as abdominal pain, itchiness, fever, fatigue, nausea or dark stool.


5. Weird vaginal discharge

Vaginal discharge can be normal, but sometimes, it can also be a cause for concern. Dr. Banerjee says, "There are a number of things to consider when it comes to vaginal discharge—the colour, if there is foul smell, if there are things like bleeding, pruritus (itching), and fever with it. The normalcy of the individual's periods and their age also have to be considered. It also needs to be seen if they have diabetes or any such health conditions that could affect immunity." Weird vaginal discharge can be a sign of some sort of infection—if it is of cottage cheese consistency or has strong, foul odour, it may be a yeast infection, if yellow-green in hue, it could be an STI, and if grey, it may be an indication of bacterial vaginosis. Consult your gynaecologist if you notice any unusual changes in the colour and texture of your discharge, and if it is accompanied by other symptoms like odour and itching.


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