Think you’re in tip-top shape?
Sure, you look great, eat well (most of the time), work out and have no obvious medical problems. But are you really as healthy as you should be?
When you really think about it, maybe you do notice some minor annoying symptoms…but you haven’t had a migraine in months and all your limbs are in perfect working order.
Sometimes the signs of ill-health can be much more subtle, and hide some serious underlying conditions.
If any of these seem familiar, perhaps your body is telling you it’s time for a check-up.
1. You’re Low On Energy
You go to bed at a reasonable hour and get a full eight hours sleep, yet you still find it tough to drag yourself out of bed, and need regular caffeine hits to simply survive the day. If this sounds familiar, then something isn’t right.
Take a step back and look at your diet, if it’s laden with alcohol, cigarettes or processed foods then that may account for your lack of energy.
If cleaning up your diet and working to reduce stress levels don’t do it, then some blood tests could be in order to figure out exactly what’s draining your energy. Fatigue that goes on long term can lead to complications like social isolation and depression, so be sure to nip it in the bud.
2. You Have No Libido
Up to 43% of women and 31% of men have experienced sexual dysfunction, which includes a low sex drive. This is often put down to stress or exhaustion, having a new baby, starting a new job…or a hundred other excuses.
But humans exist to reproduce and the ability and motivation to do just that are central to our health and wellbeing. If you just can’t get in the mood – and haven’t for quite some time – then it might be a sign that there is something more serious going on.
Aside from aging, menopause, and birth control pills, your lack of desire may stem from depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, a loss of sex drive is also a side effect of anti-depressant medication.
3. You Sleep Poorly
I bet you don’t associate your bad sleeping habits with how healthy you are! We tend to put a poor nights’ sleep down to a tough day at the office, being amped up after that episode of Game of Thrones, or an after dinner espresso.
While it could be down to these factors, sometimes it can be a little more serious.
When the evening rolls around our bodies are supposed to reduce our levels of the stress hormone cortisol, so we’ll be all set for a good night’s kip. But if we’re stressed, our cortisol levels stay high, keeping us tossing and turning for half the night.
And, because our bodies are supposed to recharge and self-repair as we sleep, a prolonged period of sleep deprivation leaves us with a weakened immune system and greater susceptibility when cold and flu season comes along.
4. You Snore
Snoring is associated with sleep apnea – where the breathing actually stops briefly. This can be caused when throat muscles relax or, in rarer cases, when the muscles that control breathing don’t get the proper signals from your brain.
Because teas can actually help reduce congestion and phlegm (and therefore snoring) trade in your evening beer for a cup of calming green tea.
5. You Bruise Easily
Although most bruises are harmless, if you frequently find strange marks on your body it might be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as a blood-clotting problem or a blood disease.
Of course, it might be that you’re anemic due to low levels of dietary iron, a well-known cause of mystery bruising. Add more iron rich beef, turkey, shellfish, lentils, beans, and spinach to your diet to prevent the development of anemia.
Deficiencies in vitamin K, vitamin C and zinc have also been cited as causes for easy bruising. A balanced diet will sort this out for you too.
If you notice this bruising after starting a new medication, have frequent large or unexplained bruises, notice bleeding, or have a family history of bruising, then it’s recommended you visit your doctor.
6. You’re Anxious
Anxiety is an emotional state of worry, nervousness, and unease. It has nothing to do with how healthy your body is, right? Well, sometimes it does.
Anxiety can stem from physical issues like hormonal imbalances. Research by Harvard and Emory University neuroscientists found that some women’s vulnerability to anxiety can be explained by their estrogen levels. Insufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) are also known to cause anxiety and even frequent panic attacks.
Web MD lists anxiety as a symptom of a medical illness like heart attack, heat stroke or hypoglycemia – although these would usually be accompanied by other symptoms. Certain medications can also cause anxiety, as can alcoholism or illicit drug use.
If you’re feeling panicked or overwhelmed, and can’t pin it down to anything going on in your life, then try switching up your diet to see if that helps.
And remember, food is medicine so cut out the junk and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to feel great and look even better.