Due to our busy working schedules, it can be hard to see our doctors and dentists during the week. To set up a single meeting, you need to make an appointment, let your boss know, let your colleagues know and essentially adjust your whole schedule for the day. Since it takes so much effort, we tend to avoid seeing health professionals for seemingly minor symptoms.
The problem, however, is that these minor symptoms can easily develop into something serious if left unchecked. Because of this, it’s important to understand when to see a health professional and when to just ‘sleep it off’.
To help you, we’ve listed five ostensibly minor health issues that you can’t afford to ignore.
- Persistent dental issues
If you’re experiencing dental issues constantly, it’s best to see your dentist as soon as you can. Toothaches, sensitivity, gum tenderness and frequent infections shouldn’t be ignored. All of these can lead to severe complications and expensive dental procedures if they aren’t treated.
For instance, if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, it’s possible that you’re going through the early stages of tooth decay. This is when harmful bacteria break down the enamel (the outermost layer of the tooth) and expose the dentin. If this isn’t addressed, the bacteria will eventually damage the pulp, causing swelling and severe pain.
In some extreme cases, tooth decay might even lead to tooth loss. If this happens, the empty space that the tooth left behind will become a haven for germs and bacteria. In turn, this causes further damage to your gums and teeth.
To prevent this, most people get dental implants to replace the missing tooth. However, since implants are expensive and invasive, it’s best to avoid the issue altogether. So, if you’re experiencing persistent dental issues, check in with your dentist as soon as you’re able.
- Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath can be caused by strenuous exercise or a stressful situation. However, if it comes on suddenly with no obvious explanation, it could be a sign of a serious heart or lung problem. Asthma, blood clots, pneumonia and COVID-19 are all possible causes of breathing difficulties. If untreated, these conditions could lead to lung abscesses, lung respiratory failure or even death.
Because of this, it’s best to get professional help immediately if you’re experiencing acute shortness of breath. Otherwise, if you’re experiencing mild symptoms and suspect it’s COVID-19, it’s important to follow the rules of your local jurisdiction when it comes to testing and isolating.
Long-term lifestyle changes can also help you combat shortness of breath. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can improve your lung function. Additionally, minimising or abandoning unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking can also help alleviate breathing difficulties.
- Feeling anxious or depressed
Many studies have shown that there’s an undeniable link between mental and physical health. Poor mental health can lead to physical issues like increased blood pressure and insomnia. Conversely, poor physical health can make one experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If left unchecked, these symptoms could lead to chronic pain, memory issues, fatigue and digestive problems. In terms of your personal life, it could also affect your friendships, relationships and your performance at work. All of this could easily lead to a downward spiral of dangerous coping mechanisms and deteriorating health.
Unfortunately, mental health still isn’t being discussed at much as it should be. It remains a taboo in many cultures despite studies showing how important it is to our physical well-being.
So, if you’re feeling down or exhausted all the time, it’s important to have a professional take a holistic look at your health. This will help you pinpoint the issue and find out what you need to do to fix it. It’s also important to find out from your GP whether you require the expertise of a psychiatrist or psychologist.
In movies and TV shows, snoring is often conveyed as a harmless trait that you can laugh about. However, in real life, it could be a sign of something more serious.
Indeed, snoring is one of the major symptoms of sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is a condition which causes the airways in your throat to narrow. This partially obstructed airway is what causes someone to snore loudly. More importantly, however, this narrowed airway is also what causes breathing difficulties during sleep.
Sleep apnoea can cause headaches, a dry mouth, irritability and it can even cause one to wake up in the middle of the night to gasp for air. Long term complications include high blood pressure, insulin resistance (which could lead to type 2 diabetes), liver problems and metabolic syndrome.
If you snore loudly and suspect that you might have sleep apnoea, see your GP as soon as possible.
- Changes in toilet habits
Are you going to the loo more frequently than you used to? Unfortunately, like the other symptoms on this list, it could be nothing or it could be a sign of a serious health problem.
You should see your doctor if you experience other serious symptoms along with increased trips to the toilet. Additional symptoms to look out for are abdominal pain, bloating, severe weight loss and bloody stools.
Frequent urination could also be a sign of a health problem. Usually, those with insulin resistance will find themselves urinating frequently as their body attempts to get rid of excess glucose (sugar). This is common amongst those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
So, whether it’s number one or two, it’s a good idea to see your doctor if you notice any changes in your toilet habits.
There you have it, five symptoms that you shouldn’t just sleep off. Although your body is strong and can withstand a lot of things, you still need to take care of it. Being vigilant and looking out for these symptoms is one way of doing so.
That being said, don’t just rely wholly on the internet. Only use websites to get general information about your symptoms. Be careful about coming to conclusions or diagnosing yourself based on the information that you find online. If you have any concerns for further questions, be sure to contact a health professional.