Most of the time, a twitchy eyelid or an irksome knee, is just that—no biggie. But there are instances when a seemingly insignificant health quirk may be your body’s way of saying, Hey there, let’s go to the doc.
“Most people know the major symptoms of something like a stroke or heart attack, but sometimes you get weird presentations of serious problems,” says Jake Deutsch, M.D., founder and clinical Director of CURE Urgent Care in New York and an Attending Physician in the ER at Hackensack University Medical Center. Here are eight to watch for.
If you get over a nasty cold and your cough lingers for weeks, you may have developed what’s called post-bronchitis syndrome.
“It’s like asthma,” says Mitchell Gaynor, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and author of The Gene Therapy Plan: Taking Control of Your Genetic Destiny with Diet and Lifestyle. “People think unless you’re wheezing and short of breath it’s not asthma, but that’s not true.”
What’s happening: Your airways temporarily get smaller.
“The cough responds to an inhaler, so you treat it like asthma until it resolves in a few months,” he says.
If you’re feeling a little out of it despite getting a good night’s sleep (and a strong cup of coffee), think about what you’ve been eating. Loading up on bread and pasta? Also have white spots on your tongue? Go see a gastroenterologist as you could have celiac disease, Gaynor says.
“There’s a huge gut-brain connection, and if gluten is causing inflammation in your gut, you’re malabsorbing nutrients and you’ve disturbed your gut’s microbiome,” he adds. “You may not have any stomach upset except that you feel bloated sometimes.”
It may be metallic—or just a different, unpleasant taste. Regardless, if it’s persistent and you haven’t recently had a cold (which can affect taste buds), get checked out and bring all the vitamins and over-the-counter meds you regularly take to the doctor with you.
“Overdosing on vitamins can cause it,” Deutsch says.
Multis, as well as iron and calcium supplements, and even zinc lozenges can cause it. The taste usually goes away when the vitamins flush out of your system, but if you’re taking daily vitamins, you keep replenishing the (too-high) levels. Not popping pills? It’s even more important to see your doc: “The taste could mean a more complicated problem with your sinuses or a tumor compressing nerves that help with your sense of smell and taste,” Deutsch says.