We all live busy lives, and sometimes in the middle of all the rushing around and hectic work schedules, our health can take a back seat to other things going on. It can feel like we don’t have the time to take off for doctor’s appointments, urgent care visits, and prescription refills.
Specific symptoms should not be ignored. Sometimes our bodies have a way of letting us know that there is something seriously wrong. Several patients who have experienced significant health concerns were first alerted to their diagnoses by a seemingly harmless symptom. Check out this list of issues that should be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible.
1. Migraine Headaches
Studies have shown that nearly 12 percent of the adult population in the US suffer from migraines, and there are approximately 4 million people who have chronic conditions. Migraines can be severe; it may start as a dull ache but quickly develop into throbbing pain.
One Reddit user reported that a sister suffered from severe and frequent migraines when she turned 22 years old. Although they were frustrating, she did not see a doctor for several weeks. When she did make an appointment, the doctor credited it to stress due to her husband recently being deployed to Afghanistan.
The Reddit user further explained that the sister left the office without a prescription and made plans to come back to the office if the problems persisted. A few weeks later, she had a massive seizure and had to be taken to the emergency room.
It turns out that she had a tumor in her brain. She was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, and she was very young to have received such a diagnosis. It is sad to think that she may have received earlier preventative treatment if it had been caught during the first consultation. She had died within a year.
Statistics reveal that approximately 24,000 men and women will be diagnosed with a form of brain cancer each year. The most common age for brain tumors typically develops between 40 and 60 years old.
Not all brain tumors cause headaches because the brain itself is not capable of feeling pain. Experts suggest that if you are experiencing a new headache, a pattern for pain, or more frequent migraines, it may be time to consult with your primary care physician to rule out any serious health issues.
Blisters can be common irritants depending on what was done first to aggravate the skin. Common in warmer temperatures, these sores are often caused by the skin becoming damaged by friction or heat. The damaged upper layer tears away from the underneath layers while a fluid collects between the space.
A Reddit user recalled a blister forming on his leg, and after a few days, it became sore. He mentioned that he thought that it was about to burst, so he put antibacterial cream on it in hopes of helping it heal. But the blister would not go away.
The Reddit user said the blister kept getting bigger until it was the size of a quarter. It also remained raw-looking and had a little black spot in the middle. He went to the doctor who said it looked like a spider bite. He left with a five-day course of antibiotics.
After three days of taking the medication, the blister worse than ever before. It had turned gray and doubled in size. The user went to the emergency room, where he was admitted and scheduled for surgery. The culprit turned out to be a dangerous flesh-eating bacteria, and a massive chunk of his leg had to be cut out.
Necrotizing fasciitis is an infection that results in the death of soft tissue throughout the body. It typically begins through a break in the skin, such as a cut or burn. Several strains of bacteria can cause this disease, but most are caused by group A strep, or Streptococcus pyogenes.
While terrifying, flesh-eating bacteria disease is an extremely rare occurrence. There are only 700 to 1,100 cases that are reported in the US each year, and one in four people die from the disease. Suspicious sores should be monitored closely, and visit your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
A cough is an expulsion of air from the lungs, and in the majority of cases, it is hardly a case to warrant alarm. Cold weather can be a typical time for these kinds of ailments. Coughs are likely the result of a cold coming on or a sore throat.
A Reddit user explained that his grandfather had reportedly been having trouble breathing for quite some time. He had shortness of breath, at times heavy breathing, but because he had to take care of his wife, he put off going to the doctor.
When the user’s grandfather had finally made an appointment to see what is wrong with him, it was the worst possible news. It was an aggressive form of lung cancer, and he had died within three weeks.
The user said that if his grandfather had come into the doctor’s office sooner, there might have been a way for him to receive treatment. Although tragic, experts say non-smokers genuinely have to worry less about a chronic cough as a sign of cancer. The most common causes of chronic cough for non-smokers are postnasal drip, asthma, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Heartburn is caused by a burning pain or discomfort in the upper chest and midchest. The pain tends to worsen when the patient lies down. This happens when the stomach acid has backed up into your esophagus.
One Reddit user said he was “young, dumb and uninsured,” so he decided to put off seeing the doctor about persistent raging heartburn for about three months. He was trying to get by with eating plain yogurt and lentils, even though it was causing extreme painful bouts of heartburn and vomiting.
By the time the Reddit user had gone to the doctor, he had suddenly discovered that he had a severe case of H. pylori infection. The doctor said the ailment could be cured with antibiotics, but in this particular case, the postponement had probably caused irreversible damage to the stomach and digestive system.
The doctor’s prognosis ended up being correct, and the user said his heartburn returned within a year. He had given himself a chronic disease by ignoring the initial infection. Doctors say that all persistent symptoms need to be checked out to rule out other causes.
Cramps can be a typical symptom for many premenstrual women. Statistics state that nearly 80 percent of women experience the kind of period pain at some stage in their lifetime. It can be felt from the early teens right up through menopause.
One Reddit user discussed a time where she felt increasingly painful period cramps along with other PMS symptoms. She complained to her doctor for a year but was told that it was likely due to age.
The Reddit user said she was prescribed birth control pills, but the pain would not subside. In fact, it was increasing to “white-knuckle, puking-level pain.” After being referred to an ob-gyn, the user was taken in for an ultrasound.
It turns out she had benign fibroids and was going to need a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingectomy. The specialist was “horrified: that she hadn’t been seen sooner and reportedly described the uterus as more tumor than healthy tissue; it looks more like a raspberry than a pear.” The Reddit user said she learned that if something hurts, she should always seek help.
Increasingly painful periods and nasty PMS symptoms, in general, are notable signs. The family doctor attributed the change to age and wouldn’t take it seriously.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form in the United States and worldwide. Dermatologists often caution patients to have irregular looking moles checked out in order to catch cancer early.
A Reddit user said his dad had moles all over his body, and after some encouragement, he went to a dermatologist to check them out. There were a couple of big moles that were feared to have increased in size.
One of the moles that had been checked out was not one that he had been too concerned with because it appeared to be getting smaller in size. The dermatologist performed a biopsy right away and took a one and a half-inch chunk from the back.
The test results came back positive for melanoma, a severe form of cancer. The original poster said he had no idea that a smaller mole could be a sign of cancer but was told that this is because the immune system has a reason to attack the area.
We all have interactions with different people throughout the day, but no one person may know our heads better than our barbers and hairdressers. One Reddit user explained that he owes his life to his barber because he discovered while getting his regular trim at 17 years old.
The barber noticed a mole that was on the top of his head and advised the user that he should get that checked out. At the barber’s advice, he went to the doctor, who told him that it was in the early stages of cancer. The user said that happened more than 20 years ago, and “life is good.”
Teens tend to grow at their own pace. Some become taller than others at an early age, while others are late bloomers. It is not typically a concern unless certain factors come into play. One Reddit user noted that he was much taller than anyone in his family. While other members were around five foot five, he stood a foot taller by high school.
He didn’t think much of his size until a physical when his father’s doctor noticed swelling in his hands. After a blood test, it was discovered that he had abnormal growth hormone levels that were three times the average amount. He was diagnosed with acromegaly.
The growth hormone deficiency can also involve tumors that damage the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which then affects growth. Doctors chart growth since the child is firstborn in order to make sure he or she is growing steadily on the curve. An increase in families is also a contributing factor.
In this particular case, the Reddit user said he underwent more tests, including an MRI, which uncovered a tumor on his pituitary gland. It was then removed, and the user was able to feel much better.
Much of our health depends on our nutrition and the choices that we decide to put in our mouths. But what may be considered nutritious may not always be the case. One Reddit user said he had a bizarre craving in the middle of the night, where he would want to eat fistfuls of iceberg lettuce in the middle of the night. He would even, at times, eat an entire bag in one day.
During a regular doctor visit, the user underwent a few blood tests to see if he might be dehydrated or vitamin deficient. The results shocked him; it turns out that his hemoglobin was extremely low, 5 when it should ideally be between 13 and 16. “The hospital staff couldn’t believe that I’d been walking around and even working overtime,” the user writes. After 24 hours of blood and iron transfusions, the lettuce craving disappeared.
Elsie Campbell in the United Kingdom claims that her unusual cravings for lettuce helped her know that she was about to be diagnosed with cancer. After conducting some research, her husband told her that her body was craving certain nutrients in lettuce that are deficient in people with breast cancer.
Lettuce and other leafy greens contain sulforaphane, which is an anti-cancer chemical. After learning this, she found a dimple in her breast and went to her doctor, where it was confirmed that she had breast cancer. Experts cannot definitively agree that cravings can be indicators of health concerns, but it is an interesting correlation nonetheless.
Earwax buildup is something that we all have to deal with from time to time, but experts state that excessive amounts of the substance have been linked to hearing loss and feelings of vertigo, along with other health concerns.
A Reddit user said even though she would regularly clean her ears, she would always hear from her doctor that there was too much wax inside that prevented him from seeing anything. She said her ears would also tend to hurt frequently, and sometimes she would have a hard time hearing.
During one visit, the doctor decided to do a total flush. After two to three hours, the doctor discovered that the patient had had an ear infection that was most likely a year old. The disease had caused hearing to be impaired in either ear, and one ear was had particularly more hearing loss.
For the Reddit user, the flush also helped the doctor diagnose why there was such an abundance of ear wax. The patient had hyperhidrosis, an overactive sweat gland that had caused the ears to make more wax than necessary. She was told never to use q-tips and see the doctor once a month for a flush. If she had seen the doctor five years sooner, she said she would not have received such hearing loss.
Many women experience slight spotting in between periods, which may be pink, red, or brown in color. In many cases, it isn’t a cause for concern, but doctors tell patients that if they are experiencing some spotting, they should let them know at their earliest convenience.
A Reddit user explained that his mom had experienced some light spotting a few times a year but did not think much of it because it was only one or two drops. She was past menopause at the time. When she told her doctor about the spotting, she was to receive a test to see what was going on.
Constipation can be more than just mild discomfort, especially in children. One Reddit user said she had noticed that her two-year-old daughter would often lie on her left side on the floor at random times during the day. She would also take a wide step when she walked and was often diagnosed with constipation.
Doctors would later diagnose the young girl with abdominal embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare type of cancer that starts in the cells that develop into the skeletal muscle cells in the abdomen.
Rhabdomyosarcoma symptoms include persistent lump or swelling, bulging of the eye or swollen eyelids, headache and nausea, blood in the urine, trouble urinating or having bowel movements and bleeding from the nose, throat, vagina or rectum.
The Reddit user said her daughter underwent 54 weeks of chemotherapy before her fourth birthday. She said the experience was an “unimaginable medical hell,” but the little girl is discovering a “pain-free” life for the first time.
As people age, they may seem to notice that some of their joints do not move the way that they used too. A Reddit user said he had seen a “funky” movement in his right knee for a couple of years. The first time he saw it was after he performed a lousy tackle while playing soccer and had landed wrong on the joint.
He had thought that the injury had just resulted in a glitch that he was going to have to deal with for the rest of his life. Since it wasn’t painful, he did not think he needed to see a doctor. He said the knee trick was weird in that fingers could be placed on the inside of the knee, and you could feel something clicking past the tendons and soft tissues.
After a while, the user started to notice some swelling around his trick knee. He thought that he needed to go in for a checkup. When the user described the click and showed him, the physician made a face that he will never forget and said he had never felt anything like that before.
The Reddit user was diagnosed with osteochondroma, which is an abnormal bone spur inside the knee. The tendons were slipping from one side to the other as he was bending his knee back and forth. These are known as the most common of bone tumors.
If the user had seen a physician sooner, then he could have seen a specialist to have the spur removed. At the time of the swelling, the spur had punctured something in the knee and caused an excruciating amount of pain.
The Reddit user said he went straight to the emergency room and admitted right away. He spent four days in the hospital for rest and relaxation. A couple of weeks later, the spur was removed.
A Reddit user said his nine-year-old son had complained about his leg becoming tired, and he would often sleep a lot. The pediatrician did not see anything wrong. A couple of years later, the boy became constipated, and his bladder had started to retain a large amount of urine.
After they took him to a local children’s hospital, the doctors had discovered that the constipation was keeping him from releasing urine. He had to take gallons of a MiraLAX mixture to keep it moving. While he was able to have several bowel movements, his symptoms were not changing.
The boy had spent a week in the hospital before his mother, and the user’s wife had demanded that the hospital staff think outside the box. When the neurology department had come in to run an MRI, they found a fatty filum at the base of the spine. The boy went into surgery immediately.
Because the discovery was not made right away, the boy has no bowel or bladder function because a tethered cord had caused the nerve damage. He has to use a straight catheter six times a day and use stimulant laxatives and enemas.
While back pain is becoming more and more common as we age, it is an uncommon symptom in a child except in cases of severe injury. One Reddit user said she first remembered experiencing severe back pain when she was nine years old. She said she would come home crying after softball practice.
But her parents thought she was trying to get out of going to practice. When she saw a doctor for her back problems, it was discovered that she had scoliosis and that it was too late to be fitted for a brace. She said at 21 years old that she had just undergone her fourth back surgery to have an entire disk replaced.
Energy levels also seem to diminish as we get older, but sometimes gradual fatigue can be a signal for something more serious. A Reddit user said her mother had declining energy levels for several years. She would become more tired and irritable.
She finally agreed to bring it up to a doctor who dismissed it as a sign of menopause or aging. But she would still become more tired as time went on. It was later discovered that her thyroid was shutting down over the two years that this had been happening. By the time she saw an endocrinologist, she had no thyroid function left.
Your vision is an essential part of your overall health, and experts say that everyone should go in for regular eye exams regardless if they think they have perfect 20/20 vision. An annual checkup can be crucial in discovering severe medical issues like glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy.
A Reddit user said he had no problem with his vision when his wife made him an appointment to see an optometrist. While he was diagnosed with a 20/20 vision and excellent peripheral vision, the doctor discovered that he had a rare disease called pigment dispersion syndrome.
Pigment dispersion syndrome is often found in people between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. Doctors see this condition when there are Krukenberg spindles on the cornea. The pigment from the iris sloughs off and is floating freely in the aqueous humor. If not caught, it could become lodged in the drainage system of the eye.
This condition causes increased interocular pressure and could lead to permanent blindness. The user said this discovery is a perfect example of why everyone should see their eye doctors for an annual examination.
One Reddit user recalled her childhood best friend had developed a spasm in her hand that she assured was just a tic. Several people have one, like possibly bouncing a knee up and down whenever they feel nervous or excited.
When she asked her friend about it, the friends said she had no other symptoms until her health rapidly declined one day. The girl had a seizure in the middle of class, and just as quick as she was gone, she awoke and was fine again. The teacher had told her to go to the nurse.
The girl went home that day with her parents. The Reddit user said she tries not to be angry at her parents, who did not take her to the emergency room that day. They reportedly gave her ibuprofen for her headache and sent her to bed.
She died that night of an undiagnosed brain tumor. Because some brain tumors are misdiagnosed as mental issues, the user stressed that any rapid decline in health should be seen by a medical professional.
One Reddit user said she had several problems walking when she was a child, and she had developed a big roll in her gait. Parents thought it was a foot problem and made an appointment with a podiatrist. But the doctor did not fix the pronated leg. It was thought to be just a growing problem.
She lived with pain in legs and feet for more than 18 years until it was discovered that her hips did not line up. She was diagnosed with dysplasia during her birth that was not connected. The severe health issue ruined her right knee and foot as the result of one leg being shorter than the other.
One Reddit user says he lost a testicle when he was 12 years old after he woke up in the middle of the night in extreme pain. He described it as being kicked in the balls repeatedly, and the testicles were very swollen. His parents decided to wait it out for more than two days before he was taken to the hospital.
When he finally got to the emergency room, the preteen was taken into surgery right away. The user explained that doctors told him that if he had come in right away, he would not have lost the one testicle. If he had waited one more day, he would have lost both. He added that he now knows that pain is a prominent symptom not to ignore.