It’s amazing how in-tune with our bodies we can be. It’s also amazing how out-of-touch with them so many of us are! For instance, you might know when a summer storm is rolling in—your joints start to ache due to the barometric pressure. At the same time, you might be living with chronic pain that you’re so used to, you’ve just accepted it. In either case, it’s important to pay attention to your body.
Our bodies have different and unique ways of telling us something is wrong. Sometimes, you know right away; other times, you need to observe the signs and put the pieces together. And while it’s impossible to predict some illnesses, getting acclimated with your body’s alert system is a great way to head off issues before they become severe or debilitating.
Catching small symptoms can put you on to bigger health concerns while they’re still very treatable, and even clue you in to better everyday health and wellness habits you can adopt to treat your body right. Here’s a look at eight common signs of illness that you shouldn’t ignore.
- Lethargy: When lethargy sets in, you lack the motivation to do anything. Extreme lethargy is apathy; minor lethargy is malaise. In either case, if it’s persistent, it could be your body’s way of telling you that it doesn’t feel well at a fundamental level. Low energy, depressive feelings and lack of momentum are as much a problem with your body’s physiology as they are with your gumption.
- Loss of appetite: Loss of appetite is your body’s way of telling you that it’s working overtime to fight illness—that’s why “loss of appetite” is associated with so many medication side effects and general illnesses. Your body needs energy and it gets that energy through food. No appetite means it’s preoccupied with other things and is likely expending energy to fight them.
- Disorientation: Every once in a while, you might stand up and get a head rush. It makes you dizzy for a second, but you catch your balance quickly and get moving again. It’s normal. If this happens all the time, it’s your body warning you about an unseen illness. Lightheadedness, dizziness, balance issues and more are all disorienting and stem from disruption to your body’s homeostasis.
- Fatigue: Everyone is tired all the time—that’s the human condition these days! If you’re constantly struggling to stay awake or feeling tired even after a full night of sleep, it’s a sign your body is battling something unseen. It might be a persistent cold or something more sinister—whatever the case, being tired all the time isn’t healthy.
- Aches and pains: Most people have become so accustomed to their aches and pains that they accept them and don’t think twice about them. The fact is, aches and pains aren’t normal and shouldn’t be an accepted part of life! They can signal everything from rheumatisms to improperly healed injuries, and they’re a sign from your body that you need to work on wellness differently. That might means stretching better or talking to your doctor about different medications.
- Stomach aches: The stomach is one of the most sensitive areas of your body. When there’s a problem with your gut, it’s likely the sign of a larger issue in your body. Some people’s stresses manifest as a chronic gut ache. Some gut aches are the result of diet imbalance and nutritional deficiencies. When your gut starts to hurt consistently, it’s a sure sign you need to consider your health.
- Weight gain or loss: Unless you’re specifically trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t be. Or, if you’re packing on the pounds and your diet is relatively the same, it’s worth investigating. A few pounds one way or the other isn’t anything to be alarmed about—anything more than 10-12 pounds is your body trying to tell you something. Chances are, it’s fighting a condition you’re not yet aware of.
- Skin rash or discoloration: Many times, our skin is a canvas for what’s happening inside our bodies. Rashes and redness are a sign that we’re combatting something that doesn’t agree with us—whether from an internal stimuli like food we’ve eaten or an external stimuli like a plant we’re allergic to. If your skin is literally sending up a red flag, make sure you’re investigating and treating the catalyst accordingly.
Your body isn’t shy about telling you how it feels—especially when there’s something wrong! Listen to it, and take appropriate steps to address concerns as they arise. Sometimes, it means changing diet and lifestyle. Other times, it may require serious medical attention. Let your body guide you to the appropriate solution, and gauge the way it feels when you take the time to address the concerns it’s telling you about.