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Listening To “Warning Signals”

The human body with its associated organs, chemicals, hormones, biochemical reactions and all other components is fascinating on many levels.  One of the aspects of the human body that is self-protective is the capacity to generate “warning signals” prior to a catastrophic, life-ending event.  Here are some examples:

  • People with coronary artery blockages are likely to feel chest pains (angina) before a major heart attack occurs.
  • People with carotid artery disease may have episodes of slurred speech, blurred vision and/or other transient neurological symptoms before a major stroke occurs.
  • People with a brain aneurysm or tumor may experience headaches and other neuro symptoms alerting the person to seek help prior to those diseases causing death.

Sometimes “warning signals” come in the form of physical symptoms such as the above-mentioned examples.  However, at times, the warning signals can be asymptomatic. Here are several examples:

  • A routine blood test shows an iron deficiency anemia.  This could be a warning signal of an undiagnosed colon cancer.
  • A dark skin mole with irregular borders is noticed to be growing.  This could be a signal/sign of a dangerous skin cancer.
  • A blood test during a physical shows an elevated hemoglobin A1C  (i.e. early diabetes)

One of the many aspects of human nature is a tendency to ignore “warning signals”.  There are many people that will react to warning signals by heading to their doctors pronto but there are others that will avoid confronting the issue, hoping this is a passing event and not a sign of anything serious.  This is “denial” of course.

To the weight control arena: Hopping on the scale and seeing a not very favorable number is a sort of “warning signal”.  If the weight problem is not corrected, eventually the weight-related co-morbidities such as heart attacks, cancer, stroke, diabetes, chronic pain syndromes and more will set in, perhaps irreversible.   Many people will not get on that scale at all and this is sort of a “denial” behavioral pattern.  Those that do, see the weight and do nothing about it are sort of ignoring the “warning signal”.

Whether it be an unexplained chest sensation, a new mole, an abnormal blood test your doctor calls you about OR seeing an unhealthy number on the scale, try to NOT ignore or deny warning signals.  The earlier you accept, have evaluated and move forward with a solution, the much better chance you have of living a longer and healthier life.  

The body is nice enough to give us “warning signals”.  I am warning you not to ignore these.

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