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41 strange symptoms that can signal a serious disease

41 strange symptoms that can signal a serious disease
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So often your lumps, bumps, rashes, and red spots are harmless. Occasionally, they’re a sign of something far more serious. Here’s how to tell the difference.

Your neck looks dirty

Your neck looks dirty
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A rash-like discolouration called acanthosis nigricans “almost looks like dirt but has a velvety feel,” says Todd Sontag, DO, a family medicine specialist with Orlando Health Physician Associates. He commonly sees it on the back of the neck or in the armpit. This is often a sign of diabetes or insulin resistance. “Patients will come in asking about this rash they can’t get rid of,” he notes. A doctor will order blood tests to check blood sugar levels to make the diagnosis. Meanwhile, find out about 13 conditions you think you have – but probably don’t.

You’re a woman and you’re sprouting chin hairs

You’re a woman and you’re sprouting chin hairs
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This can be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome, notes Dr. Sontag. “Usually you see just a few hairs, but they’re dark and coarse like a man’s beard,” he notes. The hormonal imbalance may also affect your period and can thus impact your fertility. A look at your medical history and symptoms can point your doctor in the right direction. Here are 15 health myths that make doctors cringe.

You see blood spots in your eyes

You see blood spots in your eyes
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The condition is known as a subconjunctival haemorrhage, and the American Heart Association notes that this is more common with people who have high blood pressure or diabetes. While these conditions don’t cause the spots, the two are linked, they note, which gives you yet another reason to visit the eye doctor every two years. Head here to find out what’s new and what’s next in the treatment of diabetes.

Your big toe is swollen

Your big toe is swollen
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You don’t remember stubbing it – and it’s not like you’d forget. You could be looking at an early symptom of gout, which is not only painful but can signal risk for chronic diseases like high blood pressure and kidney disease. A medical history plus examination by your GP can diagnose it. Concerned about high blood pressure? Find out 18 ways to keep your blood pressure in check.

You have a major hankering for ice

You have a major hankering for ice
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Occasionally, a patient will come see Dr. Sontag and say “all I want to do is eat ice all day,” he notes. That’s a sign of iron-deficiency anaemia. You’ll need a blood workup, and your doc will want to figure out why you’re anaemic – are you losing blood or not making enough? The answer will direct your care, he notes.

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Your eyes are bulging

Your eyes are bulging
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If this is something that seems new – in pictures from last year they look normal – it could be an overactive thyroid, says Dr. Sontag. You may also notice other symptoms like unexplained weight loss or irritability. A thyroid blood test will ID the problem. Iodine treatment can slow your thyroid, and you can manage the issue with thyroid medications. However, Dr. Sontag notes that sometimes thyroid problems are self-limiting and resolve on their own. Here are 9 silent signs of a thyroid problem.

You’ve gotten shorter

You’ve gotten shorter
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If you’re wondering how your jeans got longer, you could be witnessing one of the silent signs of osteoporosis. As your bones weaken, the vertebrae in your spine begin to compress and you start to lose height. If you’re 3-4 centimetres shorter than you were in your 20s, see your doctor. Here are 10 tips to stave off osteoporosis.

Your urine is cloudy

Your urine is cloudy
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When you wee, it should be clear and the colour of light lemonade. If it’s darker yellow, you could be dehydrated; when it’s almost clear, you may be too hydrated. But if it’s cloudy or very dark, you could have a bladder stone that’s irritating the wall of your bladder. A physical exam and urinalysis can pinpoint the issue. It can be hard to know what to believe in the ever-changing world of health. Here are 12 health “myths” that turned out to be true.

Your feet feel like they’re attached to bricks

Your feet feel like they’re attached to bricks
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This could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a condition that hits women more than men and often strikes those between the ages of 20 and 40. Fatigue (with or without joint pain) is another common symptom. Feeling stiff for four weeks warrants a trip to the GP to make sure everything is OK. Want to separate fact from fiction when it comes to arthritis? Head here to find 5 arthritis myths busted.

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Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team