TODAY   |  January 06, 2014

Could jaw pain indicate a heart attack?

Chewing ice? It could indicate an iron deficiency. Dr. Keri Peterson presents five surprising signs of serious illness, including jaw pains as a signal of a possible heart attack.

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>> if you ever find yourself chewing ice uncontrollable or jaw pain that won't go away, it might be your body telling you something that could be a little more serious.

>> here with five surprising signs of illnesses that your body may be signaling is internist dr. carrie peterson.

>> happy new year.

>> and before we dig into these symptoms, we want to say if you experience any of them, check with your doctor.

>> absolutely.

>> and first one, here's one that surprises me. a symptom most people wouldn't think is a sign of a heart attack and that's jaw pain.

>> that's correct. it is a symptom that occurs on the left side of the jaw. it's mild and dull and only lasts a few minutes and caused by the nerves being agitated around the heart when the heart is losing blood supply . it irritates those nerves, but sends a message up to the area of the body. and more common in women, actually, than men, which may be surprising. women should keep that in mind.

>> not all jaw pain, though, is related to heart attacks .

>> just because you have jaw pain, doesn't mean you have to go running to your doctor. if it's happening when you're chewing, it's very unlikely to be related to your heart. but if it's happening when you're exercising, see a doctor right away.

>> next. this is an interesting one. yellow bumps on the eyelids. what does that signal?

>> most likely high cholesterol . it is fat deposits that happen on the inner eyelids and bottoms of the eyes, as well. a simple blood test can diagnose that.

>> does this matter if you're black, white, asian?

>> any skin type, but it can happen hereditarily in asiaasians. it doesn't always go away, you may need additional therapies like surgery or laser to get rid of them.

>> to get rid of bumps. okay. if you're really thirsty coupled with frequent urination , could be a sign of diabetes. i think a lot of people have heard about this.

>> i hope people have heard about this because many think craving sugar is a symptom of diabetes. but instead, frequent urination and thirst is a sign. and the reason it happens is when you have high blood sugar , it leaks into the kidneys and excreted in the urine. the urine gets concentrated and pulls water out of the body causing more water into the urine, so you urinate more frequently and that loss of water in the body causes you to be dehydrated and you're thirsty more often, as well.

>> but if you drink a lot of water and go to the bathroom a lot doesn't necessarily mean diabetes.

>> there are other things that can cause thirst, just dehydration from exercise, for example. but if it's more excessive and you're thirsty frequently when you don't expect to be, you should get tested for diabetes.

>> this one's interesting, chewing ice . if you're somebody who can't stop chewing ice .

>> this is iron deficiency and anemia. i've seen people in the supermarket chomping on ice and i want to say get your iron checked. it's due to iron deficiency , more common in women because women are more likely to get iron deficiency because of lack of iron in the diet.

>> why ice, though?

>> it's very strange.

>> lastly, blistering rash on one side of your body could signal shingles.

>> that's correct. shingles, a reactivation of the chickenpox causes a blistering rash in a band around the torso or on one side of the face. doesn't cross the midline. and it can be treated, doesn't cure it, but with antiviral medication, you can shorten the duration and the severity of the illness.

>> all right. again, check with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

>> yes.

>> dr. carrie peterson, thank you