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5 Common Health Signs That You Must Not Ignore

Being sensitive to changes in your body and paying attention to the signs can help you understand an underlying health problem. Cold and pale hands may be an indication that you are iron deficient. Thinning eyebrows and eyelashes may be a sign of thyroid issues. If you’re suddenly craving for sweets, it could be a sign that your body is dehydrated. By knowing what the signs mean, you can take preventive measures.

When you have a headache, you first try to figure out the reason behind it and then take medication or look for other ways to cure a headache. But, the headache is not the actual problem. An underlying health issue may be the actual cause and that’s the one which must be addressed.

Your body is wonderfully designed to give you indications, if you’re smart enough to notice them and take appropriate action. Many such indications may be less obvious but can be a sign of something more serious. Here are some common signs that you must pay attention to and do the needful.

1. Pale, Cold Hands And Shortness Of Breath

Pale and cold hands can indicate an iron deficiency

Sometimes, you may notice that your hands have become pale and cold. You may also experience shortness of breath, dizziness, or weakness. This could be an indication of anemia, which occurs when you do not have enough red blood cells or when your red blood cells do not function properly.

Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia, which happens due to the lack of iron content in your body. Though iron deficiency usually occurs due to blood loss, it may also be due to poor absorption of iron. Iron is necessary for the hemoglobin in red blood cells, which carry oxygen from your lungs to tissues all over the body.1

Deficiency of iron causes your blood cells to reduce blood circulation to your extremities such as your hands and feet. So, your body pumps blood to more important organs of your body such as the heart and the brain. Naturally, reduced levels of oxygen cause shortness of breath, especially when you involve in strenuous activities.

What You Must Do

Consult your doctor to find out if you have iron-deficiency anemia. Consider eating foods that are rich in iron such as leafy greens, nuts, lentils, raisins and red meat. Your doctor may also suggest iron supplements.

2. Always Feeling Hot

When your body is overheating, you tend to constantly feel hot

Feeling hot sometimes is normal. But, if you feel hot always, and it’s not even because of menopause, then it could indicate that your body is overheating. A normal, healthy person’s body functions best at an internal temperature of about 37°C (98.6°F). However, each person has their own individual “normal” body temperature, which may be slightly higher or lower.2

Excessive body heat for prolonged durations is not good for the body as too much heat can damage your brain and other vital organs. The human body has its own natural cooling system in the form of sweating, which cools down the body when its temperature soars. When sweating doesn’t cool you down adequately, you’re at risk for a heat-related illness called hyperthermia.

What You Must Do

Air conditioning is the best way to protect against hyperthermia. Avoiding direct sun exposure and staying in cooler areas is crucial. Drink fluids such as water, tender coconut water, and fresh fruit juices. Avoid heat-causing foods and beverages like caffeine and sodas.

3. Metallic Taste In Your Mouth

A metallic taste in your mouth can indicate gum disease or an oral infection

Some people may experience a funny metallic taste in their mouth as if they’ve placed a penny on their tongue. This common complaint can be due to many reasons such as the medication you’re taking or because of dental problems. Inadequate water intake can also contribute to this strange taste in your mouth. But, often a metallic taste in your mouth could be a symptom of gum disease.

Certain oral infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis may result in the swelling and bleeding of your gums. As blood contains iron, you may experience the metallic taste when your gums bleed. If ignored, it can lead to severe gum inflammation and eventually tooth loss.

What You Must Do

Visit your dentist to get to the root of the problem. Maintaining oral hygiene is critical for overall health. Also, ensure that you brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft brush in small, circular motions, and floss once daily.3 Sip water at regular intervals to wash down any odor and oral bacteria.

4. Sparse Eyebrows

Sparse eyebrows and eyelashes are often an indication of thyroid problems

A thinning of the eyebrows and sometimes, even the eyelashes, may be an indication of thyroid problems. The thyroid gland located in the neck region plays a vital role in the maintenance of tissue and hair health all over the body.

Thyroid disorders affect the hair follicles and madarosis (absence or loss of the eyelashes and sometimes the eyebrows) is caused due to disturbances in hair cell kinetics. Hypothyroidism is associated with generalized hair loss probably due to coarse, dull, and brittle hair with a reduced diameter. The eyebrows and eyelashes may also be entirely lost.4

What You Must Do

Consult your physician at the earliest for a blood test to ascertain if your thyroid is functioning normally. Your doctors may prescribe synthetic hormones to restore normalcy.

5. Sugar Cravings

Sugar cravings often occur when your body is dehydrated

One of the common problems dehydration can cause is craving for sugar. When you’re thirsty, you often feel an urge to seek food. That’s because dehydration activates both hunger and thirst centers in the brain’s hypothalamus. A lack of awareness is generally attributed to the inability to differentiate between thirst and hunger. Apart from causing thirst and hunger, dehydration also results in a change in brain volume.5

Dehydration interferes with the brain’s serotonin levels resulting in a lack of satiety. Low serotonin levels often trigger the desire to eat more and results in sugar cravings.

What You Must Do

Rehydrating your body with healthy fluids such as water, fresh fruit juices, and smoothies must be your priority. Stay away from carbonated and energy drinks, as they can dehydrate you further. Consume fruits that contain lots of water such as watermelon, pineapple, and others.

References   [ + ]

1. Anemia. American Society of Hematology.
2. How is body temperature regulated and what is fever? U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2016.
3. Diabetes, Gum Disease, & Other Dental Problems. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. 2014.
4. Kumar, Annapurna, and Kaliaperumal Karthikeyan. “Madarosis: a marker of many maladies.” International journal of trichology 4, no. 1 (2012): 3.
5. Meeusen, Romain. “Exercise, nutrition and the brain.” Sports Medicine 44, no. 1 (2014): 47-56.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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