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If you’ve endured a heart attack, stroke or cancer diagnosis, it’s obvious you have health problems. These are serious situations that could motivate anyone to make drastic lifestyle changes. However, it’s important to realize that the body also provides more subtle warning signs long before these types of illnesses develop. Here are 8 signs of poor health.

1. Bad Breath

Bad breath can indicate a wide range of problems. For example, when you’re dehydrated, your saliva production can be reduced, resulting in bad breath. It can also be a sign of gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other serious dental issues. Metabolic disorders and certain types of cancer also produce a distinctive odor on the breath, due to chemicals they produce in the body.

2. Poor Sleeping Habits

Difficulty sleeping can also be an indication of poor health. In most cases, it’s a sign that some area of your life requires adjustment. It could be as simple as eating the wrong foods or drinking coffee too late in the day. It can also mean you’re not active enough during the day to feel sleepy at night. Sometimes an inability to sleep can be the result of anxiety, which may be accompanied by other problems ranging from mood changes to weight gain.

Cortisol levels are supposed to go down at night, giving the body a chance to recharge. Sometimes insomnia can be caused by abnormally high cortisol levels inducing a fight-or-flight stress response at a time when the body should be resting. When this occurs, the body turns its self-repair mechanisms off in an attempt to conserve energy for an anticipated emergency. This increases the likelihood of getting sick.

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3. Elimination Troubles

If you’re urinating too often, your first thought may be that you’re drinking too much coffee or tea. Although this could be the case, you should still see a doctor if it gets out of hand. On average, a person produces 5 to 8 cups of urine per day. Aside from being a nuisance, an overactive bladder can also be a sign of an injury or serious medical condition, like cancer or diabetes. You may even have a condition that affects your nerves, muscles or other tissues. Note that frequent urination can also be a sign of bladder or kidney stones.

4. Fatigue

In many cases, fatigue can be the result of staying up too late, getting up too early or both. However, you may also be tired due to a thyroid problem or burned-out adrenal glands. Don’t forget that the more toxins you ingest through processed foods, alcohol or environmental exposure, the more energy your body will need to protect you from them. You might feel wiped out because your body’s stress response is constantly on or because its self-repair mechanisms are working harder than usual to protect you. Chronic fatigue may be the only symptom you notice when your nervous system is overworked.

5. Obesity

Obesity is unhealthy to begin with, but it can also increase your risk of developing numerous other health problems. It has been associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease and osteoarthritis. If you happen to be pregnant, the excess weight can cause both short and long-term problems for your child.

6. Anxiety

It’s not unusual to think your anxiety might all be in your head. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it begins in the mind and works its way into the body’s physiology. This could increase your risk of developing heart disease and other serious illnesses.

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Keep in mind that anxiety can also be the result of other health problems. Hyperthyroidism, sex hormone imbalances and adrenal tumors are some conditions that can cause anxiety. In most cases, anxiety is the result of inconsistency between one or more areas of your life and your true nature. If you can’t think of any obvious cause for your anxiety, it may be time to see a doctor.

7. Frequent Sickness

Human beings are exposed to all types of bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. However, a healthy person should usually be able to fight them off. If you’re the type of person who gets sick easily when around others, your immune system may not be functioning properly. This can put you at risk for infectious diseases and life-threatening illnesses like cancer. If you think you’re getting sick too often, see your doctor.

8. Blurred Vision

In most cases, blurred vision involves either age-related macular degeneration, dry eyes or some other type of visual impairment. However, it can also be a sign of conditions that have nothing directly to do with vision, such as stroke, migraine, head injury or a brain tumor. Seeing a doctor right away is the best way to identify the various issues that could be causing your poor vision, so you can get the right kind of help and some peace of mind.

Keep in mind that major illnesses don’t develop overnight. They’re typically the result of long periods of time spent either mistreating the body or neglecting to give it the attention it needs. Mild conditions will usually go away on their own, but not if you continue to overlook their warning signs. The key to preventing serious illnesses from occurring is to pay attention to the messages your body sends you and address them before they turn into something that could threaten your life.

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