Sometimes, your body gives you warning signs you simply must not ignore.

Sure, regular visits to your GP are an important step toward maintaining good health and should become more frequent as you age.

But occasionally, you’ll experience a change in your health that just doesn’t feel right.

It may creep up on you gradually or present itself suddenly.

It’s true, many symptoms resolve themselves and may be triggered by stress, overwork and tiredness.

But there are some which should be taken seriously.

Your life may depend on it.

Here’s some key warning signs.

Respiratory problems

Shortness of breath is one of the most serious warning signs you need medical attention.

It is a primary indicator of a heart or lung issue.

If you feel it is serious, call 000. You may not get a second chance.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women although men are 50 per cent more likely to suffer a fatal attack.

If you are suffering with another respiratory problem which you don’t feel is serious, you should still book an appointment with your GP.

These may include:

  • wheezing when climbing stairs
  • coughing
  • nasal congestion

Without due care, even common colds can morph into more serious conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis or adult-onset asthma.

Chronic respiratory issues may be a sign of fungal infections or cancer.

Ensure you see a doctor if they are accompanied by high fever, chills, a persistent cough or swelling in your feet or ankles.

Digestive problems

These cover a wide range of potential problems and need to be quickly addressed.

They include:

  • Changes in bowel movements, diarrhoea, constipation or deep red or black in your stool
  • Changes to your urinary habits
  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Sudden weight loss without explanation
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Frequent heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing

These symptoms can often be successfully treated or managed.

They may be triggered by a new intolerance to certain foods such as gluten (Coeliac Disease) or may indicate other chronic diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn’s Disease.

Sometimes however they indicate something more sinister and early detection is imperative.

Cognitive issues

Occasionally forgetting your pin number, password or where you have left the keys are not usually reasons to panic.

But regular instances of forgetfulness or learning problems are warning signs that you may require medical assessment.

If you find yourself constantly forgetting what you are about to say, not remembering where you are, how to get somewhere or overlooking important dates, you should see your doctor.

These symptoms don’t necessarily indicate a form of dementia and may be the result of other factors.

But they are likely to lead to anxiety, stress or depression and hence an accurate diagnosis is critical.

Emotional wellbeing

Many people live with feelings of depression, anxiety and hopelessness without treatment.

These feelings may manifest in many different guises including guilt, anger, sadness or trouble sleeping.

These in turn can trigger a raft of other ailments in the body.

Chronic depression is one of the leading causes of suicide and is a lot more common than you may anticipate with as many as one in four people suffering at some stage in their life.

But it shouldn’t be suffered in silence or with any feelings of shame.

Talk to your GP about how you can tackle the problem head on and take positive steps towards regaining control of your emotions and your life.

Headaches or other severe or chronic pain

Any sudden, intense and persistent headaches or severe or chronic pain elsewhere in your body should also prompt a visit to your GP.

Sharp headaches may indicate serious afflictions such as stroke, tumours or meningitis.

Or they may be brought on by less serious causes such as concussion, sleep apnea or even stress.

New pains anywhere in your body should be investigated if they linger.

Book an appointment

Many people, especially men, can be slow to visit a GP when they encounter a new medical issue.

They tend to ignore the warning signs and it’s often to their detriment.

Early diagnosis and intervention is vitally important in terms of producing the best possible outcomes  for all medical ailments – especially serious ones.

Remember, if it’s an emergency, call 000 immediately.

Otherwise, your GP should be your first port of call whenever you experience a new health issue.

So many people end up worrying unnecessarily about their health instead of making a quick and painless visit to their doctor.

At AHA Clinics, our doctors will take the time to really listen to your concerns before suggesting an appropriate course of action.

If they deem it beneficial, they will encourage you to consider diagnostic screening and offer advice about making lifestyle adjustments for your overall health and wellbeing.

Even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, it may be time to book a check-up to ensure you remain in peak physical condition.

Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.