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Trust your gut: Signs you may have a serious health problem

March 6, 2014 at 2:25 PM ET

Video: Dr. Roshini Raj joins TODAY to chat about trusting your gut when it comes to various physical discomforts. She advises you to seek medical attention if you show symptoms that could be signs of illnesses like heart disease.

Your body just doesn’t feel right. Should you ignore it or get it checked out?

"As a doctor, I really do trust what my patients tell me and what they feel. They know their bodies the best," says Dr. Roshini Raj, TODAY contributor and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. "If you feel like something's just not right ... get it checked out."

Even if your doctor doesn’t figure out what’s wrong right away, if the symptoms persist, you should continue to seek help. Often it does turn out to be something that needs attention, she says.

What about just searching for your symptoms on the Internet to self-diagnose? Dr. Raj suggests using information from the Internet only in the context of a conversation with your doctor. She recommends websites that are affiliated with academic medical centers with credible credentials, such as Mayo Clinic or Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Raj shares with TODAY five of the most serious health conditions and symptoms you don’t want to ignore.

1. Heart disease:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain radiating down left arm or on left side of jaw
  • Abdominal discomfort, such as bloating
  • Nausea
  • Extreme fatigue

2. Diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme thirst or hunger
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Itchy skin
  • Numbness or tingling in extremities
  • Hearing problems or changes in vision
      3. Obesity:
  • Acid reflux
  • Infertility problems
  • Arthritis
  • Hypothyroidism

4. High blood pressure:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

5. Cancer:

  • Extreme fatigue and unidentified pain (as a cancer grows, it can begin to push on nearby organs, blood vessels and nerves)
  • Unexplained weight loss (could be an early sign of colon and other digestive cancers)
  • Change in bowel habits or bladder function
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