Identifying Strange Symptoms that Could Point to Severe Medical Conditions

Often we ignore certain symptoms that could actually be a sign of very serious medical conditions.

Here are some of the most ignored signs and symptoms;

1. Why does your breath smell fruity?

Having bad breath happens in most of us, too often than we may like to admit.

There are several reasons why it happens, and poor hygiene is one of the top reasons.

However, a fruity smell/acetone smell may indicate a serious underlying medical condition, what is called diabetes ketoacidosis, or DKA.

What is ketoacidosis?

Usually, the body gets energy by burning off glucose from the Carbohydrate foods that we eat.

However, when the body doesn’t get enough glucose, in this case, because of diabetes, it’s forced to burn off fats, which leads to a build-up of ketone bodies, hence diabetes ketoacidosis.

This acetone smell / fruity smell is one of the very first symptoms of diabetes especially in children (type 1 diabetes) that is alongside other symptoms like;

  • Extreme thirst.
  • Frequent hunger.
  • Fatigue.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Strict dieting like being on a ketogenic diet (high fat, low carbohydrate diet) can have the same effects in causing ketoacidosis. As the presence of high fat makes the body burn too much fat and not Carbohydrates.

This too can lead to the build-up of ketone bodies hence the fruity breath.

How do you prevent fruity breath| bad breath

  • Keeping high levels of dental hygiene.
  • Keeping blood glucose levels under control.

2. Why are your toes Numb and tingly?

When you sit on your leg for too long, you may feel numbness [unable to feel anything in a particular part of the body], which will quickly go away once you shift positions.

But if the numbness or tingling doesn’t go away, then there is usually a problem.

Does diabetes cause tingling/ numb toes?

When your blood glucose levels remain high, over a long period of time. It can easily lead to a complication called peripheral neuropathy.

The uncontrolled blood glucose levels can easily damage the nerves and affect their normal functioning. And that is what will lead to peripheral neuropathy.

In people living with diabetes, proper foot care is highly encouraged, in order to prevent cuts and wounds.

When you have peripheral neuropathy, you will barely feel any pain when you step on sharp things or get cuts, and this can easily cause wounds that take too long to heal.

What to do

  • Maintain your blood glucose levels at a normal range, at all times.
  • Change your diet, to one that doesn’t cause sudden spikes in blood glucose levels.
  • Be active and exercise often, to keep blood flowing and nerves working appropriately.

Other causes of tingly or numb toes could be;

  • Anaemia or vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • Medications side effects.
  • Too much alcohol leads to vitamin deficiencies.

3. Bedwetting especially in older children.

Bedwetting happens in children and even in adults. The causes of bedwetting are different depending on every individual.

Bedwetting in children can be expected, but when your child isn’t bedwetting, and suddenly starts to bed wet. Then you are right to question an underlying problem.

Type 1 diabetes often presents with bedwetting as one of the very first symptoms. Children who also pass too much urine than usual must be screened for diabetes.

Diabetes happens when the body is unable to produce enough insulin to get the glucose from the bloodstream to your cells and muscles.

The glucose then remains in the blood, forcing your kidneys to flush it out, which often leads to frequent urination.

Other symptoms of type 1 diabetes;

  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Frequent thirst and hunger.

However, bedwetting can also be caused by having a small bladder or uterine tract infection.

4. Drooling.

Children always pass saliva unintended. and drooling can just be caused by sleeping, teething, or eating food that is spicy.

But what if it happens more than usual, or it starts to happen later and not at the drooling age? Then it could be a sign of developmental delays in children like in children with cerebral palsy.

Other causes of drooling

  • Medications side effects.
  • Acid reflux.

5. Black stool. Why is my poop black?

You know the colour of poop, don’t you? When you notice the change in colour it usually will raise eyebrows. A black stool can be scary, and should never be ignored.

Why is my poop black?

  • It could be because of a stomach ulcer that is bleeding. a black stool is a common symptom in people who later get diagnosed with stomach ulcers.
  • Taking iron supplements for anaemia (when you have a very low Hb) can also be a common cause of black stool.
  • Certain types of cancers like oesophageal or gastric cancer can also cause really black stool.

These are just a few of the very many symptoms that are often ignored, be very keen with unusual signs and symptoms as they can lead to an early diagnosis.

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