10 Scary Health Symptoms That Are Completely Harmless

Submitted on March 27, 2012
It doesn't hurt to be cautious, but try not to work yourself into a tizzy over these seemingly dire symptoms!
10 Scary Health Symptoms That Are Completely Harmless

Being careful about your health is a good thing, but is your heightened imagination turning you into a hypochondriac? And it is not just you; people all over the world are being "over-diagnosed" and are even undergoing treatment for minor symptoms, which are not likely to harm them. Healthy people start believing that they are ill and spend a lot of time and money on care that they do not require. Just a little bit of awareness can keep you from falling into this trap. Differentiate between symptoms that are harmless and those that are a cause for concern. Given below are 10 common symptoms that may seem scary, but are actually harmless

1. Palpitations

An elevated heartbeat rate normally sends people into panic, as they think they are about to experience a heart attack. Others believe that this could be a symptom of a panic attack or excessive stress and anxiety. However, you may get palpitations because of consuming medication, caffeine, alcohol or nicotine. Palpitations are also common after strenuous physical activity. While this symptom is not always a cause for concern, do consult a specialist if it is accompanied by breathing problems.

2. Eye Floaters

The regular appearance of shadowy dots, squiggly lines or odd shapes in your field of vision may cause you to think that there is something wrong with your eyes. Floaters are a normal part of the ageing process, caused by the clumping of collagen in the eyeball. Most floaters are annoying, but harmless. However, do not ignore this symptom if you experience it along with light flashes or distorted/blurred vision.

3. Hand Tremors

Trembling of the hands is not always an indication of Parkinson's disease. If this symptom occurs when your hand is in use, you may have a harmless condition known as Essential Tremors. In some cases, hand tremors are a symptom of dipping blood sugar, which means that you need to snack on something that contains protein. In case you consume stimulants or excess caffeine, don't be surprised to see your hands shake occasionally. However, if the tremors are constant or are accompanied by weight loss, bowel changes or racing heartbeat, you should speak with your doctor.

4. Broken Blood Vessels in Eyes

The eye is one of the most delicate parts of the body, which is probably why the appearance of red blood vessels can cause us to worry. Do remember that the blood vessels in your eyes can pop because of common things like rubbing the eye, use of certain medication, sneezing hard or even constipation. However, if broken blood vessels in the eyes become a recurring symptom, you need to rule out the possibility of hypertension.

5. Cracking Joints

Hearing your knee go snap, crackle and pop after a simple walk or stretch does not necessarily mean that you are heading for arthritis or other joint-related problems. In fact, joints often pop just because of gas. Some noisy joints are a result of normal wear-and-tear on the soft tissues and cartilage. However, you should visit your physician in case you also experience pain, swelling, redness and limited mobility.

6. Blackened Toenails

Discoloration of the nails could occur due to other reasons, apart from an infection. Wearing tight footwear for long hours could cause your nails to constantly bump against the top of the shoe. This results in bruised and bleeding nails, which can turn your toenails into an unsightly shade of black. You may also experience pain, but remember that this symptom is usually harmless. However, if you also notice redness and swelling, it is best to seek medical advice.

7. Skin Tags

The floppy, skin-colored nodules that tend to crop up around the arms, neck and eyes are indeed tumors, but almost all of them are benign. While the exact causes of these tags are still not clear, some experts claimed that they occur due to heredity factors, obesity and pregnancy. However, if the tag turns rough, hard and red it should be examined by a dermatologist immediately as it may be a wart or a sign of skin cancer.

8. Easy Bruising

Recurring black-and-blue bruises on the skin could be early signs of a blood disorder, but do bear in mind that some people are just bruise more easily than others. In fact, as you grow older, you may notice that you bruise faster, especially if you take medication like aspirin, ibuprofen or NSAIDS regularly. However, in case you suffer from unexplained bruises that appear suddenly, you may be asked to undergo the diagnostic tests for leukemia.

9. Nosebleeds

Seeing spots of blood on a tissue paper after blowing your nose can be worrying for anyone.

Fortunately, this isn't likely to be a serious problem, as the blood vessels in the nose bleed easily. Some of the most common causes of nosebleeds include mild trauma, extreme climates and the use of blood-thinners. However, do check with your doctor in case the bleeding is severe.

10. Fingernail Ridges (Vertical)

Many people believe that the appearance of ridges on the fingernails is a sign of an infection. This is mainly true for horizontal ridges though. Vertical ridges are a common part of the ageing process and may also be seen if you have "brittle nails". However, set up an appointment with your dermatologist if your nails are also discolored or distorted.

While the symptoms mentioned above are not likely to be a cause for concern, it is a good idea to keep your family doctor informed about them.