An acute disease will almost always make sure it grabs your attention, but often chronic diseases creep up on us with small seemingly insignificant symptoms. Like last year, when my uncle was diagnosed with a chronic Kidney Disease. It all started as a very insignificant complaint – both his feet were swollen – with no other complaint. When I pointed it out to him, he simply said, “Yes they are swollen since a few weeks, but I am comfortable, I have no pain and nothing is wrong with me”. Something inside me told me that it isn’t as simple as it seems so I took him to our physician for a check up the very next morning. We ran a whole battery of tests on him, after which my uncle was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease. He is currently under treatment, and everything is under control.
However, this incidence brought to light a very important thing – we should be alert and not ignore small seemingly insignificant signs and symptoms our body throws out. These signs and symptoms could be the beginning of a serious disease. They are our body’s way of conveying to us that something is amiss. Not all aches and pains are something serious, but certain signs and symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. Here is a list of a few symptoms you shouldn’t ignore:
Lump or swelling anywhere on the body
A lump or swelling is a common finding. It could be something as benign as a fat mass to something as serious as cancer. If you discover a new lump or swelling anywhere on your body, you must show it to your doctor.
Headaches are so common and they can be attributed to something as harmless as ‘lack of sleep’ to something as serious as a brain tumor. If you regularly suffer from headaches, you must consult a doctor if the nature or intensity of pain is different than usual.
New Swelling, Redness or Warmth in one or more joints
It is very easy to ignore a painless swelling. If the swelling does not cause any discomfort to us it often goes unnoticed. But these signs could be the beginning of a chronic ailment. You must not ignore it. Painless swellings could be a sign of hypothyroidism, kidney disease, osteoarthritis etc.
Drastic Weight changes
Excessive weight loss or weight gain without any apparent reason needs your immediate attention. A lot of chronic diseases can present with weight change – you must consult your physician to rule out any serious cause. Some chronic diseases that could present with weight loss are diabetes, hyperthyroidism, some cancers, and some liver diseases. Weight gain is seen in hypothyroidism, some tumors, PCOS – to name a few.
Weakness or Drowsiness
Ever-so-often we land up attributing ‘weakness’ to a hectic day, or to ‘a lot of physical exertion’ – not realizing that it could be a sign of an underlying disease. Vitamin B12 deficiency, depression, hypothyroidism, Myasthenia Gravis – are a few of the diseases that can be the reason behind feeling excessively weak or drowsy.