The Difference of Signs and Symptoms: How to Listen to Your Body

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The Difference of Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms are potential indicators that can alert you or your doctor about a potential medical condition. A symptom is something that you may notice in your body, for example pain, dizziness, fatigue, ringing in your ears. No one would know have these symptoms until you tell them.

On the other hand, a sign is any body of evidence of a disease that is easily observed by someone else for example a skin rash, hair loss, loss of color or sweating. Signs are seen rather than felt. Signs are an indicator of a potential health issue and not the issue itself.

Most medical conditions have both signs and symptoms that help identify what is wrong so it is important to pay attention to both. The more information your medical professional has, the easier it will be to diagnose any potential condition.

Examples of Signs vs Symptoms

For example, lets look at the signs and symptoms of diabetes. The common symptoms, what the patient feels, are headache, dizziness, blurry vision, tingling, frequent urination, thirst and hunger. The common signs, that can be observed by someone else are weight loss and of course a glucose rating. A reading of more than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) after two hours indicates diabetes.

Examples of Signs vs Symptoms

What are Some Common Health Signs and Symptoms You Should Listen To?

The importance of taking time out to listen to your body and observe what is going on cannot be overemphasized. However, it is one thing to listen and another to interpret. Here are seven signs that your body needs attention and what to do about it. 

Our lives are typically quite busy and this is a contributing reason why many women fall sick from avoidable diseases. The food we eat, the activities we engage and do not engage in and our overall lifestyle can have an effect on our bodies. When not checked, these can lead to terminal illnesses. So lets pay attention to our bodies.

Brittle Nails and Bleeding Gums

An occasional bleeding of the gums can be caused by brushing your teeth too hard or by flossing. Additionally, bleeding gums can be seen as a deficiency in Vitamin C. The simple solution here is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.  However, more frequent gum bleeding can be one of the signs and symptoms which also indicate a more serious condition including:

  • vitamin deficiency
  • periodontitis (gum disease)
  • leukemia
  • lack of clotting cells (platelets)

Brittle nails occur for a variety of reasons. They may be a normal sign of aging or the result of too much nail polish and treatments. When the weather is cold, brittle nails may result from dryness. Weak nails however can also be signs of a health issue, such as hypothyroidism or anemia.

Brittle nails may indicate a lack of vitamin B. To counter this, foods like herbs, mushrooms, and milk should be infused into your diet. 

Read More >>> 7 Essential Vitamins and How to Get Enough of Them

Persistent Dry Skin

Persistent Dry Skin

Persistent dry skin will cause your body to flake and look scaly. The main culprit in this case may just be a simple case of lack of vitamin E. Creams with a greasy base can be used to tackle this as they retain more moisture in your skin. 

Dry skin conditions may be caused by taking some medicines or the weather. In addition, eczema, psoriasis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and malnutrition are all associated with dry skin. If you have tried everything and it persists, see a medical practitioner for a proper diagnosis.

Read More >>> Top 5 Dry Skin Remedies That Are Cheap

Body Odor

Unfortunately, body odor emanates from more than one part of the body. It could come from the armpits, feet, or vagina amongst others. Internal health issues may result in unpleasant body odors, as well, such as liver and kidney disease and hyperthyroidism, which can lead to excessive sweat and increased odor.. 

It’s vital to identify the source of body odor especially if it is coming from the vagina – this could indicate bacterial vaginosis, also known as BV. Bv symptoms, often include a fishy smelly discharge which must be attended to in time. 

Read More >>> How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor With These Simple Home Remedies

Head, Body, and Joint Aches

A common way our body signifies that we are dehydrated is through headaches. So, you need to make it a habit to drink a lot of water. If that doesn’t help, there may be other causes including:

  • stress.
  • lack of sleep.
  • fatigue.
  • hunger.
  • caffeine withdrawal.
  • abrupt cessation of medications that contain caffeine, such as some pain-relieving medications like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • weather changes.

Body aches, on the other hand, could be a result of a lack of exercise or health complications like gout. The flu, the common cold, and other viral or bacterial infections also cause your body  to ache. When such infections occur, the immune system sends white blood cells to fight off the infection. This can result in inflammation, which can leave the muscles in the body feeling achy and stiff.

Joint pain can be caused by injury affecting any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint. Pain is also a feature of joint inflammation (arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis) and infection, and extremely rarely it can be a cause of cancer of the joint or lupus.

Read More >>> Lupus Diagnosis: Your Top Questions Answered

Causes of Food Cravings

Causes of Food Cravings

What is interesting about food cravings is that they are caused by the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward. And if you have an imbalance of hormones, such as leptin and serotonin, it may cause food cravings.

Some doctors also believe that certain cravings are caused by nutrient deficiencies and view them as the body’s way to correct them. Perhaps, your usual cup of coffee is no longer doing the trick so you have doubled it. Or you find yourself in need of sugary foods for energy. This is a sign and symptom that your body needs rest and glucose.

According to this article in Cosmopolitan, if you have a reoccurring craving for a particular (usually unhealthy) food, it could be your body’s way of telling you something’s a little out of sync inside. According to dietitian Jo Travers BSc RD MBDA – also known as The London Nutritionist –  food cravings for salt, fried foods, chocolate might mean something important.

Craving Salt? >> it may be an imbalance of the mineral in the body, like dehydration or electrolytes.

Craving Sugar and Sweets? >> most likely to be because of low blood sugar. Low energy? You may be craving carbs.

Craving Chocolate? >> A need for chocolate could be an indicator of stress.

Craving Carbs? >> Carbs equal energy so a carb craving is usually because of low blood sugar. Carbs also provide comfort.

Craving Cheese? >> You may be lacking a source of protein and calcium.

Craving Fatty or Fried Foods? >> The reason why might be more psychological than physical. A craving for fatty foods may just be a kind of emotional release from staying clear of unhealthy foods and provides comfort.

Read More >> The Healthiest Fast Food to Eat and Where to Find It

Low Energy and Fatigue

What doesn’t cause fatigue! This could be a sign that you need to re-access your lifestyle choices. Look at things like the quantity of alcohol you consume and lack of regular exercise, simple changes might make a difference. 

If it is chronic however, there may be other causes from a variety of medical conditions and health problems. Some of theses causes can include anemia, thyroid conditions, diabetes, lung and heart disease, and pregnancy. The good news is that when a health condition, such as diabetes, is diagnosed and properly managed, the fatigue may go away.

It may be emotional in nature as well. Low energy is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Read More >> Self Care Tips for Coping with Grief and Loss

Social Withdrawal

In some cases, withdrawal itself may be a symptom of anxiety. Many people that deal with stress feel an overwhelming urge to be alone. Studies have found social isolation is associated with increased risk in physical health conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevated stress hormones, and weakened immune systems. So it may start for an emotional reason and then progress to more physical symptoms.

A sudden desire to avoid people and spend your days indoors can be a sign of depression or anxiety. This is more apparent if this sign is followed by a loss of interest in the things you used to enjoy. A more serious case of withdrawal may also be Agoraphobia. It is essentially a disorder of withdrawal from any space that does not feel as safe as one’s home.

Read Next >> How to Use Essential Oils for Isolation Anxiety

What to do About these Signs and Symptoms

Listening to your body is important and you need to take a break from your busy life to observe your body. These observations will help you tackle health problems before they get worse

The fact that you are experiencing any of these signs does not mean you should panic. Simply see a doctor for a full-body check-up and explain your symptoms and signs for proper diagnosis. Many of these issues, as seen in the suggestions above, just require behavioral and lifestyle changes. Often the stress of no knowing if something is wrong and worrying about it is causing a lot of discomfort. 

Focus on self-care, and come up with ways you can improve your mood. Insert these ideas into your everyday life and before you know it, it will become a lifestyle and will have your body feeling great again.