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Don't Ignore Your Body's Warning Signs

Nobody knows your body more than you do. Usually it will give you clear warning signs when things are about to go wrong. Remember, we're the ones who pay the price for ignoring our body's signals.

According to a survey by the American Academy of Family Physicians, 38 percent of men go to the doctor only when they’re extremely sick or when symptoms don’t go away on their own.  Don't be the statistics and don't be a fool with your life.

Normal Aging

Most of our lives hit peak between 20 and 30 and gradually decline after that.  See [22] for the changes that could be due to normal aging. 

Warning Signs

'Our bodies give us subtle hints about the state of our health,' says Dr Max McKay James, a GP who specializes in preventive medicine[1].  As stated above, the signs could be due to normal aging or it could be something more life-threatening.

Early detection can help lead to a more positive prognosis for many types of diseases, and therefore, it is always a good idea to take note of anything strange going on in your body, especially if it 

  • persists for more than two weeks.

Warning Sign
Could Be
Head  Dizziness[3] A serious health risk like heart disease, stroke, or shock
  Memory Loss[3]  Health risks associated with memory loss include Alzheimer's disease, brain tumors, brain infections, brain damage, depression, encephalitis, stroke, and alcoholism.
  Passing out[29]  Could be a sign of rhythm disturbances, low blood pressure, a narrowing heart valve, or other cardiovascular problems.
Badly puffy bags
Badly puffy bags under the eye could be a tell tale sign of too many toxins - the result of excessive drinking or smoking.

Grey ring A grey ring around the white of the eye which could point to high cholesterol, particularly in younger people.
  Disappearing Eyebrows[23] Brows tend to thin with age naturally.  But when the outer third of the brow (the part closest to the ears) starts to disappear on its own, this is a common sign of thyroid disease -- either hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). The thyroid is a small but critical gland that helps regulate metabolism, and thyroid hormones are among those critical to hair production.
  Dry eyes that are sensitive to light[23] Sjogren's (pronounced "show-grins") syndrome
  • Sjogren's usually affects women over age 40 with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus[31]. Usually the eyes and mouth are affected together. The person may also have vaginal dryness, dry sinuses, and dry skin. Because of a lack of saliva, it can be difficult to chew and swallow. 

Oval pupils
Normally, pupil has a diameter 2 to 5 mm and in round shape.  Oval pupil may be an indication of glaucoma.

Scratches or spots on the cornea Any scratches or spots on the cornea (the transparent part of the front of your eyeball) could be the first sign of shingles or herpes. 

Transparent bubbles Anyone who suffers from allergies - such as hay fever - may notice transparent bubbles on the inside of their bottom eyelid.

Unilateral Ptosis
Such damage could be a sign or symptom of an underlying disease such as diabetes mellitus, a brain tumor, a pancoast tumor (apex of lung) and diseases which may cause weakness in muscles or nerve damage, such as myasthenia gravis.

Vision Problem[3] Caused by an eye disease like cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment, or macular degeneration. Or it could indicate a health problem such as a migraine, a stroke, or a brain tumor.

White lower eye lid
If you pull down your bottom lid and underneath appears pale - rather than pink - this could mean you are anaemic, a condition which 
  • indicates a deficiency in iron.

Yellowish Eye Whites[16,23]
  • If the whites of your eye have turned yellowish, this could be jaundice - where bile in the liver fails to reach the intestine due to a blockage.
  • Two groups of people most often show this symptom: Newborns with immature liver function and adults with problems of the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts, including hepatitis, cirrhosis and pancreatic cancer. 
Bowel Bloating
Gynecological cancers[2]
  • There were five symptoms that most women did not identify as possibly being due to cancer: vaginal itching or burning, back or abdominal pain, being tired all the time, having to urinate very badly or more often than usual, and bloating.

  • Colorectal cancer
    • Look for appearance of a black tarry substance in stools, which can indicate blood
    • Growths in the colon can cause a narrowing or blockage, leading to the constipation
  • Parkinson’s disease 
    • Constipation may represent one of the earliest signs of Parkinson’s disease, preceding the onset of motor symptoms by two decades or more[9,10]

  • Autism
    • A study of 172 children with autism spectrum disorder found 22.7% were positive for GI distress, primarily with diarrhea and constipation
    • Children with more severe autism are likely to have more severe gastrointestinal symptoms and vice versa.
  • Irritable bowel Syndrome
    • Patients can experience periods of constipation interspersed with periods of diarrhea. 
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Crohn's Disease
    • The symptoms include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain.
  Floating Stool 
  • Pancreatic Cancer[16,39]
    • If the cancer blocks the release of the pancreatic juice into the intestine, a person may not be able to digest fatty foods. Stools might be pale, bulky, greasy, and float in the toilet.
  • Pancreatitis[17,39]
  Light or pale feces[13,18]
  • Liver disorders such as hepatitis and cirrhosis 
  • Bile duct obstruction which may be caused by trauma, cysts or inflammation of the bile ducts resulting in blockage.
    • Some patients may experience fatigue along with abdominal pain and possible fever.
  • Gallstone
    • Symptoms may include abdominal fullness and pain, which may spread to the back, along with fever, fatigue and jaundice.
  • Cancer
    • Biliary tumors and other cancers that block the location of the bile duct
    • Pancreatic cancer may cause the stool to become a light yellow color because of a lack of digestive enzymes coming from the pancreas.
Unexplained Weight Loss
(roughly ten pounds in a month)  
  • Cancer
    • The typical signs for rectal colon cancer are thin stools, fresh blood in the stool, unexplained weight loss and stomach cramps.
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Type 2 diabetes
    • Due to the fact that insulin is unable to get glucose into your cells, where it can be used as essential energy, the body goes into starvation mode.[38]

Weight Gain

Excessive Sweating

Fatigue can be a health problem such as cancer, congestive heart failure, diabetes, arthritis[32], infections, and kidney or liver disease. Fatigue also can be part of health problems like anemia, depression, sleep disorders, or a malfunctioning thyroid gland.

Height  is less than fathom by more than 2-3 cm Osteoporosis[6] 
Longer ring finger than your index finger Women
  • Raises the risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee, independent of other risk factors and particularly among women.[20]
  • If your index finger is longer than your ring finger, your risk of prostate cancer drops by a third.

Hair Hair growing[19]       Hair growing in odd places, such as your arms and face could signal hormonal changes, especially in women.
  Hair Loss[3,19]
  • A warning for a more serious health condition, such as an autoimmune disease like lupus[31], infectious diseases like syphilis, thyroid disease, or ringworm.
  • If you have lost hair around your ankles, this could be a sign of a circulatory problem.
Mouth Bad Breadth[4,7,15]
Bad breath is the result of poor mouth care, a weak immune system, stress, gastrointestinal infections, liver or kidney disorder, blocked sinuses, or badly fitted fillings (where food can get lodged between the filling and tooth).
  • The best way to check is to lick your wrist. Start with the back of your tongue and move it forward across your wrist. Leave the saliva to dry for ten seconds on your wrist. Then smell this area for any unpleasant odors
  • An easier way: ask a trusted friend or family member
  Excessive Thirst[3] An indication of possible diabetes, internal bleeding, severe infection, or a failure of the heart, liver, or kidneys.
Lump or Ulcer
White patches, or sore red areas 
Oral Cancer
  • Look for are persistent white patches, or sore red areas on the tongue that fail to heal within three weeks.

Bleeding and inflamed gums
  • Gum disease or gingivitis
  • Diabetes, anemia and vitamin C deficiency
  Purple Tongue Tip[6] Poor blood circulation due to elevation of plasma viscosity
  • Stick out your tongue and check if it's purple color or with purple spots on the tip.
Nails     Yellowing Hue[19]         Diabetes
  A whitish crescent C at the base of your nails[19]  Look for a whitish crescent C at the base of your nails, which indicates good iron levels.
  • Hyperthyroid or Hypothyroidism
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Nodule
Change of Skin
Skin cancer[27,36]
  • Look for changes in the color and texture of skin anywhere on the body, but especially on existing moles and freckles or the appearance of a new mole.
    • Check if any starts to grow darker, ragged at the edges, bleed or itch - also check for sores that fail to heal after three weeks.
  Your socks leave indentation marks on your ankles/legs[19] Indicate that your heart isn't working properly and fluid is getting stagmant in areas, increasing your risk for a blood clot.
  Cuts not heal easily Type 2 diabetes
  • Caused by the excessive amounts of glucose flowing through your veins and arteries, skin damage is unable to heal properly.[38]
Insomnia There are many medical conditions that can trigger insomnia such as: hyperthyroidism, obstructive sleep apnea[30], Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, brain tumor, stroke, COPD, GERD, asthma, or depression.

Thorax Chest Pain[3]
  • Could be caused by different health conditions such as heart attack, angina, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, asthma, GERD, or stomach ulcer.
  • Could be Lung cancer[37]
    • The discomfort can often result from enlarged lymph nodes, the lining around the lungs, metastasis to the chest wall, or from the ribs.

Heart Starts Racing for No Reason[29] Could be a sign of an abnormal heart beat, which can be a symptom of heart disease or an arrhythmia.

Short of Breath[3]
  • Signal a heart attack or congestive heart failure
  • These could be a symptom of several cancer types including[37]
    • colon cancer, leukemia, lymphoma or stomach cancer
  • Lung disease such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, or pulmonary hypertension.
  • Anemia.
 Abdomen Frequent Urination[14] 
  • Diabetes
    • Too much glucose in the blood can trigger a need to urinate often as the kidneys struggle to draw water out of the body in order to help them filter the glucose.[38]
  • Prostate problems
  Bloody Urine[3,33,34]
  • In urology our most prominent [warning sign] is red, which, while it can come from food (e.g., beets) you’ve eaten and other substances you’ve ingested, if it is coming from blood it can often mean a problem such as:
    • Prostate cancer or problems
    • Cancer or stones in bladder or kidney
    • Kidney disease or injury
    • Infection of the bladder, kidney, or urethra
  Erectile Dysfunction[3] Indicate a health problem such as diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, neurologic disease, chronic alcoholism, multiple sclerosis, and vascular disease
  Excessive Protein in Urine[33,34] Kidney problems
  • Check excessive protein in urine by collecting 100 ml of fresh urine into the vessel. Heat it to boiling. Then your urine should appear cloudy. Add 5 to 10 drops of white vinegar in the urine and heat it again. If the cloudiness disappears, it's normal; otherwise, it could be proteinuria—may be a sign of renal damage.
 Leg Leg Pains[29] Pains that start in your legs with walking or other exertion could be a sign of peripheral arterydisease (PAD), which often goes hand-in-hand with coronary artery disease.


It pays to be vigilant, as many preventable diseases such as skin and bowel cancer can be picked up and sorted out easily if caught at an early stage. If you have any worrying symptoms that last for more than 1-2 weeks, book an appointment with your doctor.   Finally, as Dr. Kevin Pho has warned, test results without physician guidance can cause patient anxiety[5].

Photo Credit


  1. Ten DIY health checks
  2. Don’t Ignore the Signs
  3. Watch Out for These Warning Signs
  4. Four do-it-yourself health checks
  5. Test results without physician guidance will cause patient anxiety
  6. 在 家做体检
  7. What Your Breath Reveals
  8. 身體打來電話,你一定要接
  9. Is constipation a sign of early Parkinson’s disease?
  10. Medical records documentation of constipation preceding Parkinson disease: A case-control studyNeurology November 24, 2009 73:1752-1758
  11. Ptosis (Wikipedia)
  12. Examining the Eyes of an Older Person
  13. Causes of light and pale feces and fatigue
  14. Frequent Urination, Causes
  15. What About Plain Old Bad Breath?
  16. Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis and Symptoms
  17. What Your Stool Is Telling You
  18. Poop Color Chart
  19. The End of Illness by David B. Agus, MD
  20. Osteoarthritis risk linked to finger length ratio
  21. What Hot Flashes Can Tell You About Your Health
  22. How Our Bodies Age and What to Expect?
  23. 14 Things Your Eyes Say About Your Health
  24. 7 Things Your Teeth Say About Your Health
  25. 10 Things Your Skin Says About Your Health
  26. Symptoms of Brain Tumor (Travel and Health)
  27. Three Skin Cancers You Should Know About
  28. What your looks say about your health
  29. 5 Heart Health Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore
  30. Anesthesiology and obstructive sleep apnea: A patient safety challenge
  31. Diagnosing Lupus, From Start to Finish
  32. 5 Warning Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis
  33. What The Color of Your Urine Says About You
  34. What The Color Of Your Pee Says About Your Health
  35. Skin can show first signs of some internal diseases
  36. Skin Care: Professional Full-Body Skin Examination (Travel to Health)
  37. 10 Cancer Symptoms You Likely Ignore
  38. 10 Warning Signs of Type-2 Diabetes
  39. 5 Things Your Poop Can Tell You About Your Health
  40. 10 Things Your Nails Can Reveal About Your Health