You perform a breast exam in the shower every month. You go to see the doctor every time you find a new mole. But you may not notice most of the things your body is telling you anyway.
Look, even the smallest changes (from a new line in your nails to a lump in your eyelid) can be warning of a condition, some of which compromise life, as Dr. Michael Smith, chief medical editor of WebMD.
And since your doctor sees you once a year (for 10 minutes, right?) It's more critical to be in tune with your body, according to Smith. "You know your body better than anyone else (even better than your doctor)" "You know if something is not right or is different."
Here you will see five of the most amazing...
Check: Your flow
If you see: "spots" throughout the month.
This could mean: most women attribute irregular vaginal bleeding to stress and that could very well be the cause. But, according to Smith, it could also be endometriosis, uterine fibroids or even cancer of the uterus. When this type of cancer becomes invasive and begins to attack nearby tissues, a woman may experience vaginal bleeding that occurs between periods, after having sex or after menopause.
Follow up: visit your gynecologist. Uterine cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in women, but an annual Pap can avoid your risk. During your exam, a Pap will help analyze the possible presence of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells, while a pelvic exam can help identify conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids that can also contribute to irregular vaginal bleeding. If all the tests are fine, you may be able to ask if it is okay to take oral contraceptives to help regulate your menstrual cycle.
Check: your nails
If you see: dark lines at the base of your nails.
This could mean: mutant moles are not only signs of skin cancer (the disease can also develop under your nails). According to Smith, the yellowish, brown or black strips can all be signs of cell damage, possibility of melanoma, the dead form of skin cancer. One person dies from this disease every hour according to the American Cancer Society, and in recent years, the rate of melanoma has been rising more dramatically in young women.
Follow up: visit your doctor, who may be a dermatologist. The good news? With early detection, localization and treatment, about 98 percent of cases are curable, according to the American Cancer Society. While you are there, talk with your doctor about your risk of general melanoma. White skin, extensive exposure to the sun and having one or more sunburns during childhood can also increase your chances.Remember, skin cancer takes decades to develop, so even if you now use sunscreen, your days of sunburn as a child, equally put you at risk.
Check: your skin
If you see: pimples or thick hair.
This could mean: blame hormones (and polycystic ovary syndrome). The condition, marked by insulin resistance, irregular periods and an overproduction of male sex hormones can trigger oily, pimply skin and the growth of thick hairs on your face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs and toes. the feet. "The symptoms are almost the same as those of puberty in men," notes Smith. Do not be ashamed. No less than one of 10 women of childbearing age has PCOS, according to the Office on Women's Health in the US. UU Department of Health and Human Services. It can be a risk factor for serious problems such as infertility, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
Follow-up: see your doctor for an evaluation. He may perform a pelvic exam, a blood test or a vaginal ultrasound to diagnose the condition. Although there is currently no cure for this disease, changes in lifestyle can help manage symptoms, while combination with birth control pills can lower androgen levels in your body, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Check: your underarms
If you see: a patch of dark, rough skin.
It could mean: unless you had a slip with the self-tanner, you could have diabetes. Excess insulin in your bloodstream can cause your skin cells to multiply abnormally fast, triggering an accumulation of tissue and melanin (aka "skin pigment"). This can make the skin under your arms feel thicker and look darker.
Follow up: a simple blood test can determine if you have the disease, which affects more than 12, 6 million (or 10, 8 percent) of American women 20 years of age or older, according to the American Diabetes Association. Anyone 45 years of age or older should consider having an analysis for diabetes, especially if you are overweight. If you are under 45, but you are overweight and have one or more additional risk factors, you should consider doing the test, according to the National Institutes of Health. Risk factors include having a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, polycystic ovary syndrome, and giving birth to at least one baby weighing more than nine pounds (4 kg).
Check: your eyelids
If you see: small soft lumps that look white or steely and no amount of eye makeup can remove them.
This could mean: these are small deposits of cholesterol under your skin, says Smith. Unfortunately, he also points out that "by the time they appear, your cholesterol levels are probably 300 or more."(Cholesterol levels less than 200 are optimal). And by blocking your arteries, your high cholesterol levels put you at serious risk for heart disease, which kills one in four women in the United States. UU, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Follow-up: Ask your doctor for a cholesterol test and ask him / her how you can reduce your levels. Reducing it to 10 percent cuts the risk of heart disease by as much as a third, according to Smith. Losing weight, exercising regularly and eating a diet concentrated on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats can help you lower your cholesterol (and the risk of a heart attack). If your cholesterol is hereditary and you are not driven by lifestyle behaviors, your doctor can prescribe drugs to lower your levels.