We’ve all experienced it – a sudden, unexplained health symptom that makes us wonder if we should rush to the doctor to see if it’s something serious.
The fact is, many symptoms that may seem dire are nothing to worry about, experts say.
“Consider that many unusual symptoms are really fleeting occurrences that are part of our body’s natural changes,” David Katz, M.D., director of Yale University Prevention Center, tells Newsmax Health.
Here are six scary symptoms that are usually not related to a serious ailment:
1. Eye Floaters
Small moving specks, dots, or squiggly lines that appear in your field of vision can be annoying, but are usually not dangerous, says Dr. Cary Silverman, a New Jersey ophthalmologist. “These are actually tiny bits of gel or cellular debris that clump together casting shadows on the retina.”
WHEN TO WORRY: If the floaters appear with light flashes or distort your vision, you should visit your eye doctor to make sure you’re not suffering from a retinal tear or detached retina.
2. Eyelid Twitches
Stress, fatigue, even too much time staring at your computer can cause muscle spasms in the upper or lower eyelids. Twitches usually stop on their own, says Dr. Silverman. Warm compresses or eye drops sometimes will stop them, he says.
3. Sudden, Intense Pain That Goes Away Quickly
Dr. Katz, author of the new book Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well, says many people experience random sharp pain anywhere in the body. “The pain can be intense and very fleeting,” he says, adding that this can be the result of a cluster of neurons suddenly firing for no reason. “This has nothing to do with illness or injury.”
WHEN TO WORRY: Contact your doctor if the pain is in your head, recurs often, or is associated with other symptoms.
4. Skin Tags or Moles
Almost everyone develops growths on their skin as they get older, says top dermatologist Dr. Jerome Litt. Most of these are “friendly” or benign tumors. “The average adult has at least 40 moles on his or her body,” he says. Skin tags look like floppy little nodules and are rarely cancerous. They develop when skin rubs together or when clothing rubs against the skin.
WHEN TO WORRY: If the growth becomes hard, rough, or changes color and size, check with your dermatologist.
5. Easy Bruising
Many people are naturally prone to bruising and it does not affect their health. But some medications such as aspirin or blood thinners inhibit blood clotting, which makes people bruise more easily. Age, too, can make people gradually more bruise-prone. Usually there are no ill effects from this, says Dr. Litt.
WHEN TO WORRY: If bruising appears suddenly and is unexplained, check with your doctor to rule out a blood disorder.
6. Single Elevated Blood Pressure Reading
Many factors including stress, medication – even what you eat — can have a temporary effect your blood pressure. Most of us experience “white coat hypertension” when we visit the doctor’s office for our annual checkup because we’re anxious about the reading. The numbers normally go down once you settle in and relax.
WHEN TO WORRY: If you consistently get high readings, even outside a doctor’s office, talk to your doctor about the situation to determine whether you need hypertension medication or whether there are other things you can do to lower your blood pressure.
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