Self Care

The Perils of Secret Symptoms

How health-aware would you say you are? It’s a question worth asking because the average person these days seems to have knowledge of health issues on a scale not seen before.

There are things that most people know now that even the average doctor would not have even twenty years ago – and we’re not just talking an “apple a day” keeping the doctor away. On balance, this knowledge is a positive. It’s useful that we know about things to avoid, things we should do. It’s a relief to those of us with health issues that we can talk about them to our peers without having to explain them in depth. From dry skin to tension headaches, we all have them.

Part of this is because general health awareness is on the increase. Every daily newspaper has a health section. Most of us know someone with a continuing health condition. By the simple fact of living in the world, we learn about illnesses, treatments, risk factors and more. We all now know more than a person of equivalent age would have in 1997.

So knowing all of this, it would seem unlikely that we could have a chronic illness without being aware of the fact, wouldn’t it? And yet, that’s the reality for many of us. Part of that is because, well, the illness is chronic. If we’ve been living with it for years, we don’t know it’s anything out of the ordinary. By detecting and treating it, we could experience a major increase in quality of life.

The question is, are you living with one right now?

“I’m Not Sure Why, But I Can’t Stop Coughing”

For some of us, a persistent niggling cough might set us on notice that we have a cold coming on. If we’re of a more anxious nature, we may think back to those cancer warning signs we read about once upon a time. In both those cases, though, there will need to be more wrong than just the cough. But ask yourself: does your cough get worse when it’s cold outside?

You may well, without knowing it, have asthma. We may associate it with wheezing or getting out of breath easily. In truth, there are different kinds of asthma, with different symptoms and different triggers. See your doctor to find out more. It’s perfectly possible to function normally with asthma and cut out your symptoms. You can even order your Ventolin inhaler online once you have a diagnosis; nothing about being diagnosed with asthma needs to be inconvenient.

“What’s The Matter?” “Oh, I’m Just Tired…”

We all get tired from time to time. It’s normal if we have had a poor night’s sleep or have been more busy than usual. If you regularly find yourself exhausted, you may put it down to lifestyle factors. You may have heard yourself say in passing “I am wiped, I’ll definitely sleep tonight” – but if it is something that becomes the norm it may have a deeper cause.

Issues like fatigue and hypersomnia (where a full night’s sleep just doesn’t feel like enough) can come from a number of reasons. It may be a symptom of a migraine – don’t let the fact you don’t have headaches often fool you. You may be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

You may even, without being aware of the fact, be dealing with stress or depression. These conditions can operate in the background, and while you don’t feel like you’re about to cry or yell at someone, be taking a toll.

Speaking Of Stress…

The way stress is portrayed on TV makes it seem like the kind of thing anyone would notice right away. You’ll sit with head in hands, grimacing as all around you, things fall apart. The fact is that stress is one of the most pernicious conditions around. The reason it can be pernicious is that it’s not as obvious as you may think.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I find myself tapping my feet or looking around while waiting for something?
  • Do I have extreme reactions to relatively trivial setbacks?
  • Do I find it tough to make a straightforward decision?

The answers to these questions may be a sign that you’ve been living with stress and not known it. Trace when these reactions are most common, and try to find the source of your stress. See a doctor about ways of limiting stressors and dealing with your symptoms – you’ll find your life becomes a lot more serene.

I’d love to know what you think? Have you ever been plagued by any symptoms were different than expected?