Our body is made of a complex system of connections and organs, and when something goes awry in one organ, the symptoms can manifest somewhere else altogether, or feel irrelevant. From the hiccups to unexplained kleptomania, here are 12 secret symptoms that may indicate you’re suffering from a disease and should see a doctor as soon as possible.
1. Grooved Fingernails
If your nails are grooved or have small pinpricks, it may indicate that you’re suffering from nail psoriasis. While most people think that psoriasis symptoms are rashes on the skin, studies have shown that in some people the disease displays symptoms through the nails. In fact, most psoriasis patients will experience symptoms in their nails long before the disease manifests in the skin.
2. Subdermal Lumps and Bumps
Hard “marble-like” lumps under your skin may be the first signs of Rheumatism – a chronic inflammation of the joints, this according to Dermatology Magazine. These lumps can grow to the size of walnuts and will usually appear around the joints, particularly the wrists and elbows. The lumps are not painful and considered to be a rare symptom, but do not ignore them once you spot them.
3. Never-Ending Hiccups
If you’re suffering from a bout of the hiccups that lasts longer than 48 hours, it may be a sign of lung or esophagus cancer, according to a Taiwanese study. About 4% of patients that took part in the research suffered from chronic hiccups. This bizarre symptom also is relevant to cases of strokes – our main nervous system controls hiccups and in a case where the body is at risk of stroke, the brain causes several reactions, some of which are very similar to those of the aforementioned cancers.
4. Sore Heel and Achilles Tendon
Even if your skin is clear and doesn’t itch, a sore heel and Achilles tendon can still be indicative of psoriasis. About 30% of psoriasis patients experience pain in those areas, as well as swollen fingers and toes.
5. Feeling Cold and Getting “The Chills”
If you’re constantly feeling cold, even when it’s fairly hot outside, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland). The thyroid controls our metabolism, and if it’s not functioning well enough, our body doesn’t burn enough energy to keep warm. Hypothyroidism can also lead to obesity, depression, and hormonal imbalances.
6. Drooping Eyelids and Hearing Loss
While drooping eyelids and hearing loss are typical symptoms of aging, if you’re experiencing these symptoms and you still haven't reached the golden years, they may be warning signs. When occurring together, they may indicate the existence of a brain tumor. Other accompanying symptoms will be nausea and vomiting, loss of balance, shifts in body weight and mood swings.
7. Kleptomaniacal Urges
If stealing a piece of gum from your local store or lifting some products from the pharmacy gives you a thrill – you may be showing early symptoms of aphasia, according to a study published in the American neurology magazine Jama. This neurological disorder damages the parts of the brain that control social behavior.
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8. Odd Shapes on the Tongue (“Geographic Tongue”)
If your tongue is displaying dry bumps or indentations, you may be suffering from Celiac disease. Celiac is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself when one consumes gluten. If you’re experiencing diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting or weight-loss, do not ignore the marking on your tongue and see a doctor to get more information on how to deal with your disease.
9. Your Beard Is Growing Too Quickly
If you’re a woman, it’s a given – excess facial hair can indicate a hormonal problem that should be diagnosed by a doctor, and the same goes for men. In both cases, the symptoms are often caused by a tumor that produces testosterone (the male hormone), which accelerates hair growth (amongst other things). If you need to shave more often or are experiencing the appearance of hair in unusual places – you should see a doctor.
10. Excessive Urination
Excessive urination is one of the most ignored symptoms of diabetes. It happens because the kidneys struggle with the high levels of sugar in the blood and trying to dispose of it in the urine. Since you lose more liquids, you constantly feel dehydrated – another symptom you should pay attention to.
11. Unexplained Weight Loss
Everyone wants to lose weight without working hard, but if you’re not on a diet nor working out regularly, yet see a loss of 5% in your body weight within 6-12 months (especially after the age of 40), it may be a symptoms of something worse – cancer, depression, dementia, Parkinson’s, diabetes, or even hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid).
12. Craving Things That Are Not Edible
If you’re in the mood to munch on paper, clay, metal, chalk, soil, glass, soap or ice, you may be anemic, as found by the American Academic Medicine Union. This phenomenon is called “Pica”, and often manifests in women (especially pregnant ones) and children with developmental issues. Another sign of anemia is a swelling of, and pains in the tongue.
If you don’t see your family physician on a regular basis, don’t ignore these signs and see your doctor as soon as possible. For some of these diseases, early detection can be paramount to your future quality of life.