Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They may seem like nothing, but those little signs your body sends you every now and then could be a warning sign of something bigger and more serious.
KDKA’s health editor Dr. Maria Simbra takes a look at five symptoms that women should never overlook.
The first is unexplained weight gain.
More common reasons can include eating too much and hypothyroidism; but once in a while, weight gain can be a sign of somethings like ovarian cancer or liver disease – Cirrhosis for instance.
“Many Americans gain weight slowly over time,” said Dr. Christine Mackey, of Allegheny General Hospital internal medicine. “But what would be unusual is weight gain, especially in the abdomen; and weight that kind of felt like fluid, rather than accumulation of fat.”
How many women feel exhausted? Everyone gets tired now and then, but sudden exhaustion could be a symptom of heart disease.
“I think a sudden onset of exhaustion with activities that you normally do, and you haven’t engaged in anything out of the ordinary and you all of a sudden felt wiped out, that’s something to keep in mind,” said Dr. Indu Poornima, of Allegheny General Hospital cardiology.
Especially, experts say, if you also have night sweats or shortness of breath.
Also, the frequent urge to urinate may be more than meets the eye.
“The classic presentation for a new diagnosis of diabetes is someone who is overweight, who begins to urinate kind of frequently,” Dr. Mackey said.
People with diabetes may also be excessively thirsty.
“They will do anything to appease this thirst. I’ve had patients come in drinking gallons of iced tea a day,” said Dr. Mackey. “One of my favorite patients was drinking his wife’s soy milk. That’s certainly not very thirst quenching, but for him, he was so thirsty, he was willing to drink anything.”
Then, there is losing your sense of smell? The most common reason is injury to the smelling nerve in your nose, but in some cases, it could indicate early Alzheimer’s disease.
“Loss of smell, that is common with certain medications. It certainly can happen with sinus infections, but it’s not one of the common ways that Alzheimer’s presents,” added Dr. Mackey.
More commonly, family members tell the doctor they are worried about memory and thinking abilities of their spouse or parent.
Finally, if you have high blood pressure and can’t get it under control, don’t blow it off. If you take a drug called an ace inhibitor, maybe all it takes is moving it to the evening.
“There are some patients who specifically have high blood pressure in the morning, and there’s no reason why the medication shouldn’t be taken at that time of the day,” said Dr. Poornima.
The most important thing is to take your medicine in the first place.