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6 Surprising Causes of Common Health Symptoms

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By: , – Leslie Goldman, Woman's Day
5/27/2013 12:00 PM   :  13 comments   :  9,477 Views

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When you notice something amiss—a cough that won’t quit, sudden dandruff—you may run right to the computer to look up what could be going on. A recent survey found that 35% of Americans have used the Internet to self-diagnose a medical issue. Before you panic, discuss the online info with your doctor. And remember that some easy-to-detect signs call your attention to bigger problems at hand so you can address them on your own. Here, six common symptoms, why they happen and what you should do about them. 
 
1. You pop mints hourly to hide your bad breath.

YOUR BODY IS HINTINGYou have an allergy. Some allergies cause a nasal drip, which can lead to not-so-fresh breath.

Do this: Brush your tongue with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove odor-causing compounds. Avoid toothpaste containing sodium lauryl sulfate, a common ingredient that can be drying (saliva helps wash away food particles).

Do this: Ask your doc for a referral to an allergist who can test you.

2. You have a nagging headache.

YOUR BODY IS HINTINGTime to go for a walk. Exercise boosts blood flow to carry oxygen throughout your body. If you're not active enough, your brain isn't receiving as much O2 as it could—which can cause headaches. Recent research found that inactive people were more likely to experience headaches than those who worked out.

Do this: Take a 10-minute walk, alternating 3 minutes of brisk walking with 1 minute of strolling. Short amounts of activity can help increase blood flow to your brain, and exercise works even better when it raises your heart rate.

Do this: See your primary care doctor if the throbbing pain doesn't subside after a day or two to find out if you have a migraine headache. If your pain is very severe and came on suddenly, seek immediate care.
 
3. You have a cough, but it's not a cold.

YOUR BODY IS HINTINGYour stomach is off. A dry cough that lasts eight weeks or longer without typical cold symptoms could be due to acid reflux, which happens when acid from your stomach splashes back up into your esophagus and irritates your throat.

Do this: Chew sugar-free gum to increase the production of saliva, which can help neutralize acid that comes back up.

Do this: Eat small meals so your stomach doesn't become overstuffed, which can push acid upward.

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Comments

  • 13
    While these are one possible cause, among many, for each symptom, I must say that I am glad to see #3 on here. Not everyone feels the burn/discomfort of acid reflex. My mom had that cough for I don't know how long - but she's always been allergy prone and asthmatic so the dry cough just seemed like a change from the congested cough and I don't think anyone thought anything of it. Then her voice started becoming hoarse and raspy, and she thought it was part of getting older. Then one night she went in to the ER for a severe asthma attack and found out it was stomach acids eating up her vocal chords and irritating her bronchia. How she didn't feel it, I'll never understand!
    Seriously, if you have a dry cough that won't go away, get it checked out! - 12/19/2013   9:57:27 PM
  • 12
    The article reads like that's the only reason for the symptoms. The reasons for each of those symptoms are many, so IMHO the article is misleading. For example, a nagging headache can also be caused by dehydration, allergies, a need for glasses... it goes on. - 12/19/2013   8:51:23 AM
  • 11
    even though the introductory paragraph mentions these are unusual presentations, the symptoms and "cures" suggested may send people in the wrong direction for treatment and therefore are bad medical advice - 5/30/2013   12:11:17 AM
  • 10
    I don't like that they recommend daily shampooing for dry scalp. Most shampoos have harsh cleansers that just exacerbate the dryness (and don't really do jack for dandruff either). - 5/29/2013   12:48:08 PM
  • 9
    I never head most of this. Thanks - 5/28/2013   10:46:27 PM
  • 8
    I never head most of this. Thanks - 5/28/2013   10:46:26 PM
  • 7
    I take care of my teeth, and I have a yearly physical. - 5/28/2013   3:01:45 PM
  • ANDIRUNS1
    6
    A chronic cough can also indicate asthma or another chronic lung disease. If you have a nagging cough that lasts several weeks, you should go see your doctor, not take a breath mint. - 5/28/2013   11:59:11 AM
  • 5
    The headache may also be hinting that it is time for water. - 5/28/2013   11:45:10 AM
  • 4
    The coughing for people with acid reflux can become very serious. I had acid reflux since I was four years old and had asthma like symptoms, including coughing. Eventually I had surgery to correct the problem. - 5/28/2013   9:11:00 AM
  • 3
    This is quite interesting. - 5/27/2013   9:05:53 PM
  • 2
    My nails break easily. I'm quite sure I'm low in iron, as it's one of the things I track on the nutrition tracker. I never get enough! - 5/27/2013   8:42:33 PM
  • 1
    It's probably not a cause, but I'm diabetic, and I find my dandruff occurs when my sugars get high. - 5/27/2013   7:43:17 PM

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