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Secret Messages Your Body Is Trying to Tell You

Pay attention to these five things your body could be trying to tell you. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Our bodies are incredible! From healing, to breathing to fighting off infections, our body can accomplish so much on its own to protect us, but it can also communicate with us and send off warning signs that something is wrong. Dr. Jacob Hascalovici, the Chief Medical Officer with Clearing, a telehealth platform for chronic pain patients explains five ways our body is trying to make us pay attention to a health issue and what to do about it. As always, please consult your physician for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Loss of Hair And The Urge to Crunch Ice

young man in white t-shirt and jeans looking in mirror at thinning hair
Shutterstock / Maridav

According to Dr. Hascalovici, "Many of us know that if we frequently feel chilly, have brittle nails, and are often tired, we might have iron deficiency. A lesser-known sign of being low in iron is unexplained hair loss. Stress can make hair fall out, but so can iron deficiency. If you also crave the sensation of chomping down on ice, that could be due to low oxygen levels in your blood–when you crunch ice, researchers think, you might drive more blood to the brain, making you feel more alert. Since iron helps your cells transport oxygen via hemoglobin, being low in iron correlates with low oxygen levels. An iron supplement could help, but it is also possible to get too much iron, so consult your doctor or nutritionist to establish the right dose for you." 


You Smell Things Others Don't Smell

Woman Trying to Sense Smell of a Candle

Dr. Hascalovici explains, "You might get a strong whiff of cut grass, skunk, carnations…anything, really. The smells might come and go or linger. But if others can't smell the same thing or the smell doesn't seem to be coming from anything in particular, it might be phantosmia ("phantom smells"). This could be your brain signaling you that something could be off. Epilepsy, Parkinson's or a brain tumor can all cause phantosmia, so it's worth checking these smells out." 



Young woman falling asleep in bed with drink in hand

Dr. Hascalovici says, "Tiredness and fatigue can be signs your body is trying to pump the brakes. You may need more sleep, may be warding off an infection, or may be simply stressed. Surprisingly though, fatigue can also be a sign you're not moving enough. Lack of exercise can tire you out, paradoxically. So if you've been quite sedentary recently, try brief bursts of exercise, or even a long walk. That could help you reset, raising your mood, boosting your energy, and banishing some of that fatigue. If that doesn't seem to be the problem though, consider getting checked out by your physician. A few other concerning causes of fatigue could be at play, including issues with your thyroid or possibly fibromyalgia or depression. Thyroid problems are often accompanied by feeling cold or weak and noticing dry skin, while with fibromyalgia you might have pain, moodiness, headaches and trouble concentrating. If you're dealing with depression, sadness or a low mood may accompany your tiredness, plus a lack of interest in things you used to enjoy. "


Excessive Thirst

with closed eyes drinking clean mineral water close up, young woman holding glass

Dr. Hascalovici shares, "Thirstiness and needing to pee more than usual could be early signals of diabetes. It's easy to dismiss signals like that, especially if you're working out a lot, spending time outside in summer, or just in the habit of drinking a lot of water. It may be because you have high blood sugar, though, and your kidneys are working overtime trying to stabilize your blood glucose, which makes you want to urinate more. Excess urination makes you feel dehydrated and very thirsty. If you're also noticing any tingling or numbness in your limbs, if your eyesight becomes blurry, or if you're also hungry and/or losing weight without meaning to, consider getting a medical check-up. Diabetes is serious, and the sooner you catch it, the better you can control it."


You Lose Your Sense of Smell

woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19

"Pay attention to that," Dr. Hascalovici emphasizes. "It could be an early clue that you might have Parkinson's disease. Other early Parkinson's clues include having hyper-real, intense dreams or starting to write much smaller than usual. The earlier you detect Parkinson's, the better."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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