Let’s face it, no one feels 100 percent ALL of the time. Every one of us experiences being under the weather or off our game from time to time. We’re only human, after all.
But no one wants to be accused of overreacting… or to be labeled a hypochondriac… so many of us tend to ignore our symptoms figuring they will go away on their own. Because, the truth is, it’s hard to know if a symptom is something serious we should be worried about, or simply a passing inconvenience.
Avoid a tragedy!
Following are 5 symptoms you should NEVER ignore.
1. Unexpected weight loss:
Unexplained weight loss should be taken seriously.
If you notice that you have lost 5-10 pounds without trying and within a few months, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Let him know if you have noticed a change in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, change in stool color and consistency).
It could be as simple as a thyroid problem. But it could also signify something more serious like cancer, a serious infection, or an autoimmune disorder like celiac disease.
2. Night sweats:
Night sweats can be common during menopause, and can also be a side effect of some medications like SSRIs used to treat depression and anxiety (ie. Zoloft and Lexapro).
But the development of new night sweats warrants a trip to the doctor. Endocrine disorders (thyroid, adrenal, diabetes), infections (bone, heart, lungs, HIV), and some cancers (lymphoma) can cause sweating at night.
3. Abnormal vaginal bleeding:
Women may experience abnormal vaginal bleeding at any point in their lives.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding is…
- bleeding when you’re not expecting your period,
- bleeding that is heavier or lighter than is normal for you,
- or bleeding that occurs at an unexpected time like before age 9 or after menopause.
More often than not it’s related to the hormone shifts of puberty or menopause, mid-cycle ovulation, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, oral contraceptive use, or an IUD (intra-uterine device). However, it can also be a sign of uterine fibroids, polyps, as well as cancer of the cervix, uterus, ovaries or vagina.
4. Worst headache of your life:
We have all had headaches, some worse than others. And many people suffer from migraines. But if you have the sudden onset of a headache that feels like “the worst headache of your life” or a “thunderclap” get to the emergency room.
A stroke or brain hemorrhage can feel like this and serious complications/death can be prevented with prompt treatment.
5. Chest discomfort or “heartburn”:
Heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women in this country. In fact it is responsible for killing more than all forms of cancer combined.
Too often people dismiss or deny their symptoms of a heart problem—sometimes assuming it’s simple heartburn—and delay treatment that could save their heart.
A heart attack can feel like a pressure or heaviness in your chest. This sensation may radiate down your arm or into your neck and jaw. It can be associated with shortness of breath.
Many people describe what feels like heartburn that doesn’t go away. If you feel any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. Time is of the essence to preserve your heart function.
Born in New York City, and raised in both Stamford and Greenwich, Connecticut, Dr. Haythe used her competitiveness and determination as a horseback rider at Greenwich Academy to excel at academics as well. Never one to sit still for long – Dr. Haythe knew early on that a regular desk job would not work for her. Drawing on an early love of science and desire to help others made pursuing a career in the medical field a natural fit.
Dr. Haythe went earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and went on to complete her medical training and residency at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2003. Initially planning a career in Pulmonary Critical Care, Dr. Haythe decided to switch to Cardiology after speaking with her mentor Dr. Donna Mancini.
Upon completing a fellowship for congestive-heart failure-cardiac transplants in 2005 (under Dr. Mancini), and cardiovascular diseases fellowship in 2009, Dr. Haythe began practicing at Columbia University Medical Center. Her specialties include pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and cardiac transplant.
Despite Cardiology being a heavily male dominated medical field, Dr. Haythe has become a sought after specialist in New York City – with particular interest in both chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and the care of pregnant women with cardiovascular diseases.
Dr. Haythe continues to find her own motivation and determination through the strong patient and family relationships she has forged, and the gratification of helping her patients get a new life with a heart transplant or assist devices, allowing patients to be able to live a full life with their families, as well as helping pregnant women safely deliver children and be able to care for them with post-delivery health care.
Dr. Haythe lives and practices in New York City. When not working, she enjoys an active lifestyle that includes running, boxing and yoga, as well as spending time with her husband, Eli and their two children.
Latest posts by Dr. Jennifer Haythe (see all)
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