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11 Health Symptoms Women Shouldn't Ignore

Studies have shown that while many women are aware that diet and exercise, in addition to regular Pap tests, mammograms and physicals, are important to good health, when they experience symptoms such as a persistent sore throat or fatigue, they tend to dismiss these as being symptoms of a common cold or virus when they are warning signs of a serious health problem [1][2].

Symptoms Women Shouldn't Ignore

1. Sudden weakness

Sudden onset of weakness in the face or limbs may indicate a stroke. Additional symptoms include sudden confusion, slurred speech, blurred vision, and difficulty walking. In addition to your family and friends, you should be aware of these symptoms as it may be difficult to recognize them and receive immediate assistance on your own [3].

2. Frequent shortness of breath

Some women experience shortness of breath when exerting themselves when their hearts do not receive sufficient blood supply. However, most silent heart attacks occur in women, where breathlessness and extreme fatigue are the more common symptoms, rather than chest pain. Anaemia and lung disease are also common causes of shortness of breath in women [4].

3. Chest pain

If you are experiencing chest pain, rapid heartbeat, pain in your arms, shoulders, or jaw, and/or shortness of breath, these symptoms may indicate a heart condition. In addition, there is a very rare condition known as spontaneous dissection of the arteries supplying the heart muscle. This condition can affect young people and occurs more often in women than men [5].

4. Vision problems

As you age, your vision may blur, but if you suddenly have difficulty seeing or notice blurred vision in one or both eyes, it could be a sign of a stroke. Likewise, those suffering from migraines may experience flashing lights or even coloured auras. Nevertheless, remember that the same symptom could also indicate that your retina has been torn or detached. The problem may result in permanent blindness if not addressed promptly [6].

5. Sudden weight change

The sudden loss of weight without any specific effort could signify a health problem. An overactive thyroid, diabetes, psychological disorders, liver disease, or cancer are the most common causes. Alternatively, suppose you have gained weight without changing your diet or activity level. This could indicate an underactive thyroid, depression, or other metabolic diseases [7].

6. Abnormal breast lumps

It is normal for the female breast to have a few lumps and bumps. However, do not delay in seeking medical advice if you notice any lump that sticks to the chest wall or skin, changes in the overlying skin, or changes in the appearance of the nipple. Such changes may indicate the presence of breast cancer [8].

7. Snoring and excessive drowsiness

You may suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea if you fall asleep at work and other places, which is a condition in which you cease and restart your breathing throughout the night and snore loudly. If left untreated, it can lead to cardiovascular problems and weight gain [9].

8. Excessive tiredness

A variety of factors can cause excessive fatigue. However, if you feel constantly tired, it could indicate some underlying metabolic disorder or a serious inflammatory condition such as cancer, dementia, or Parkinson's disease.

9. Excessive stress and anxiety

Stress is a part of life. However, this does not mean that it should be ignored. If you find that the stress levels are too great to handle and are interfering with your day-to-day functioning, you should see your physician as soon as possible [10].

10. Changes in skin

You should be alert to any changes in your skin. Darkened skin in your armpits or behind your neck and multiple skin tags could be signs of diabetes. Crusty, scaly growths may indicate a precancerous condition such as actinic or solar Keratosis. Please be aware of changes in the size, shape, or colour of existing moles and any new spots that may appear [11].

11. Changes in menstruation

It is normal for your period to change throughout your life, but if you notice something different, see your doctor. Sudden changes in the quantity, duration, flow, and amount of pain need to be investigated. Symptoms of these changes may be related to normal menopause or might be indicative of benign conditions like polycystic ovaries or uterine fibroids. Occasionally, they may indicate serious conditions such as pelvic infections and gynaecological cancers. Whenever you experience bleeding after menopause, you should consult your physician as soon as possible [12].

On A Final Note...

If you experience symptoms that don't feel right, consult your physician. You know your body the best and know when something isn't right. It is important to seek early medical attention and to receive the correct treatment advice from a qualified physician.

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