Take note of these 7 important signs and symptoms, from unexplained weight loss to sudden flashes, and see your doctor.

Chest pain, sudden loss of vision or speech, and severe abdominal pain require immediate medical attention. But what about more subtle signs and symptoms? It can be difficult to know what to do. Here is a list of seven signs and symptoms that deserve special attention.

1. Unexplained weight loss

Losing weight without trying may seem like a dream come true, but in reality, it could signal a health problem. If you do not have a body mass index of 30 or more (obese) and you have lost more than 4.5 kg, or more than 5% of your body weight, in the last six to twelve months, consult your doctor.

Unexplained weight loss can be caused by various conditions. These include hyperthyroidism, diabetes, depression, liver disease, cancer, or disorders that interfere with the body’s absorption of nutrients (malabsorption disorders).

2. Persistent or high fever

A fever is not necessarily a cause for concern. Fever seems to play a key role in fighting infection. A persistent fever can signal a hidden infection, which can range from a urinary tract infection to tuberculosis. In some cases, cancerous (malignant) conditions, such as lymphomas, cause prolonged or persistent fevers, as do some medications.

Call your doctor if your temperature is 39.4°C or higher or if you have had a fever for more than three days.

3. Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath may be a sign of an underlying health condition. Very intense exercise, extreme temperatures, massive obesity and high altitude are all factors that can cause shortness of breath. Other than these examples, shortness of breath is likely a sign of a medical condition. If you have unexplained shortness of breath, especially if it comes on suddenly and is severe, seek emergency medical attention.

Causes of shortness of breath can include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism), and other heart and lung problems. Difficulty breathing can also occur during a panic attack. A sudden episode of intense anxiety that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause.

4. Unexplained changes in bowel habits

What is considered normal for stool varies widely. Consult your doctor if you notice any unusual or unexplained changes in what is normal for you, such as:

-Bloody, black, or tarry-colored stools
-Persistent diarrhea or constipation
– Unexplained urges to have a bowel movement
-Changes in bowel habits could signal a bacterial infection or a viral or parasitic infection. Other possible causes include irritable bowel disease and colon cancer.

5. Confusion or personality changes

See a doctor if you have sudden problems:

-poor thinking skills
-Difficulty concentrating, maintaining or shifting attention
-Behavioral changes

These changes can be caused by many issues, including infection, poor diet, mental health issues, or medications.

6. Feeling full after eating very little

If you consistently feel full sooner than usual or after eating less than usual, get yourself checked out by your doctor. This feeling, called early satiety, can also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, bloating or weight loss. If so, be sure to tell your doctor about these signs and symptoms as well.

Possible causes of early satiety are gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, and peptic ulcers. In some cases, a more serious problem, such as pancreatic cancer, may be a factor.

7. Flashes of light

Bright spots or flashes of light sometimes indicate a migraine. In other cases, sudden flashes of light may signal retinal detachment. Immediate medical attention can help prevent permanent vision loss.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.