Symptoms are often straightforward.
For example, swelling and pain around a joint usually means you have an injury or arthritis. Or forgetting how to tie your shoes is a sure sign of cognitive decline or dementia. And a combination of nausea, stomachache and fever is likely the flu.
You get the idea.
But sometimes symptoms aren’t so obvious. In fact, some strange symptoms don’t even seem like symptoms at all.
Strange symptoms you shouldn’t ignore
But with many illnesses, an early diagnosis can be vital to your fast and full recovery. And the earlier you can spot them, the better off you’ll be.
Following are six strange symptoms that are a sign you’re getting sick.
1. You can’t get warm:
Everybody has a different impression of what feels comfortable when it comes to body temperature. And only you know how warm or cool your own “internal thermostat” usually runs.
But if there’s a shift and you find you can’t get warm no matter what you do, don’t ignore it. It could be a sign that you’re having an issue with your thyroid.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, interferes with your metabolism. A poorly functioning thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones, and this gets in the way of your body’s ability to burn calories to create heat and fuel.
As a result, you feel chilled all the time, regardless of the temperature. Make an appointment to see your doctor for a diagnosis.
2. Eating ice:
Many folks like to crunch on an ice cube from time to time, like on a hot day. But if eating ice becomes a compulsion—something you feel you HAVE to do and can’t stop—it’s time to call the doctor.
Ask him to double check your iron levels. Because it turns out one of the strangest symptoms of anemia, or iron deficiency, is a need to chew ice.
And although ice crunching may seem like the king of strange symptoms, it’s actually common. Experts say many as 44 percent of anemia patients report craving ice.
3. Swollen tender gums:
Sometimes, one health problem can turn out to be a symptom of another, seemingly unrelated, illness. And that happens to be the case with the swollen and tender gums of gum disease and type 2 diabetes.
A study published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care found that gum disease is often an early sign of pre-diabetes, or in some cases even fully developed type 2 diabetes. In the study, people with gum disease had significantly higher A1C numbers (a measure of blood sugar over time) than the folks with healthy gums.
If your gums are red and tender, or your dentist has diagnosed you with gum disease, it’s time to have a serious talk with your doc about diabetes.
Believe it or not, shoplifting is one of the earliest recognized symptom of dementia. In fact, it often shows up even before memory loss.
According to research published in JAMA Neurology, certain types of dementia can reduce a person’s understanding and acceptance of the rules that keep us from doing things like shoplifting.
Those old standards simply don’t register with them any longer. Which means a previously law-abiding person can suddenly become light-fingered.
While hiccups can be annoying, they usually don’t mean anything serious. Even hiccups that last for a couple of days shouldn’t necessarily concern you.
However, if your hiccups don’t go away after 48 hours, it’s time to call your doctor.
Taiwanese research found that long-lasting hiccups—meaning hiccups that last 48 hours of more—could be a sign of lung cancer, esophageal cancer or even stroke.
6. Swollen ankles or legs:
Ankles and legs can swell for all kinds of reasons. Maybe you were on your feet all day. Or the opposite, you had to sit for many hours without moving. For salt sensitive folks eating a lot of junk sodium could cause you to puff up.
But once you change positions, or are able to elevate your feet, normal swelling should go down. If yours stays, or continues to get worse, call your doctor as soon as possible.
Swelling that creeps up your legs and doesn’t get better is a classic sign of a heart valve problem.
It’s easy to overlook strange symptoms. But keeping your eyes peeled for these signs you’re getting sick could be the key to a fast and full recovery.