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Abdominal pain

Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Pain around and below navel accompanied by gas Constipation or flatulence Over the counter drugs like anti-gas or laxative. If pain persists for more than 2 weeks call doctor
Sudden pain around navel; accompanied by nausea, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, pressure to have bowel movement Appendicitis Go to the doctor. Appendicitis must be treated quickly or else it may get ruptured and leak infected fluid into other parts of abdomen.
Sudden pain in right abdomen that may radiate to other parts of the abdomen or back. Gall stones or gallbladder infection Visit doctor, if pain persists or worsen after eating greasy food
Sudden pain below navel that radiates to either side of the navel A colon disorder, a urinary tract infection or pelvic inflammatory disease If pain persists or continue to worsens call the doctor, who may advice diagnostic tests.
A burning sensation just below the breastbone, particularly after large meal Heartburn (reflux) Take 0ver the counter antacids and avoid greasy foods.
Sudden sharp pain near lower ribs that radiates down the groin Kidney stones Visit doctor and increase intake of fluids
Mild pain or discomfort that comes on slowly and continues for weeks or months accompanied by diarrhea, constipation or bloating A chronic ailment such as lactose intolerance, irritable, bowel syndrome, ulcers or food allergies Visit doctor who may refer you to gastroenterologists for follow up

Blood in stools

Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Black stools with no other symptoms Consuming blueberries, lead, iron pills, tomatoes or beets Stop eating the food that you might think is the causative agent. If then also color dosen't returns to normal then visit the doctor.
Maroon or bright red stools accompanied with the pain and pressure during bowel movements Anal fissures or hemorrhoids Over the counter hemorrhoid creams or ointments. If symptoms persists visit doctor and surgery may be required.
Maroon or bright red stools accompanied by discomfort in the lower abdomen and other GI symptoms like gas, constipation or diarrhea or pain Conditions like ulcerative colitis, crohn's disease, a tumor or benign or cancerous polyps See you doctor who may prescribe you diagnostic tests like x-ray, ultrasound etc. and may further refer to gastroenterologists
Black and tarry stools accompanied by burning in stomach and esophagus An ulcer in upper gastro intestinal tract Visit your doctor who may advice you endoscopy

Blood in the urine

Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Blood in the urine after starting a new medication A side effect of drugs such as aspirin, cancer drugs, some antibiotics One should see the doctor as soon as possible.
Blood in the urine accompanied by fever and back pain Kidney Infection Visit your doctor. Generally an antibiotic is prescribed when bacterial infection in the urinary tract has moved to kidneys.
Blood in the urine accompanied by severe pain Kidney stones See your doctor. An abdominal X-ray or CT scan may be prescribed.
Un explained blood in the urine with no other symptoms Bladder cancer, Kidney cancer or a genetic disorder Visit your doctor, who may prescribe diagnostic tests (CT Scans, ultrasound)
In men, Blood in the urine accompanied by difficulty in urinating Prostate gland enlargement Visit doctor. Treatment will include medication or laser to destroy excess prostate tissue.
Pink, red or brownish urine accompanied by pain, burning during urinating Urinary tract infection Visit your doctor who may prescribe diagnostic urinalysis. Treatment is usually oral antibiotic.


Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Sudden diarrhea for no apparent reason Viral infection Symptoms usually clears up within few days
Diarrhea after eating certain foods Food allergy Eliminate the trigger food from the diet
Diarrhea starting 2-6 hours after a meal A bacterial infection caused by spoiled, undercooked and contaminated food. Symptoms usually clears up within few days. Avoid solid foods until stools return to the normal
Diarrhea while travelling in a foreign country An infection caused by contaminated water; mostly due to bacterial infections Symptoms usually clears up within 1-2 days. If they persists with other symptoms like vomiting, headache, Visit doctor immediately.
Diarrhea that lasts for more than 4 weeks A chronic condition such as crohn's disease, lactose intolerance irritable bowel syndrome Visit your doctor who may refer to a gastroenterlogists.


Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Occasional constipation maybe accompanied by bloating, feeling of fullness, and need to strain to have bowel movements Poor diet, not enough exercise or too much alcohol or caffeine Symptoms generally clears up with healthy diet and plenty of fluids and fibre.
Constipation accompanied by bloating, gas or pain A disease or condition of the colon or rectum such as diverticular disease, tumors or scar tissue in the intestines Visit the doctor who may order diagnostic tests
Constipation after staring a new medication Side effect of medications such as pain killers, antacids, calcium channel blockers Visit your doctor if ant other drug should be substituted
Constipation that occurs regularly and is accompained by abdominal pain and bloating Irritable bowel syndrome Visit your doctor who may prescribe medications and fibre supplements

Changes in appetite

Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Decrease appetite accompanied by fatigue, hair loss or decrease cold tolerance Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) Visit your doctor and he will advice you diagnostic tests
Increase appetite accompanied by insomnia, excessive thirst, increased sweating or hair loss Hyperthyroidism (grave's disease) or other hormone imbalance Visit your doctor and he will advice you diagnostic tests
Decreased appetite accompanied by other symptoms like change in bowel habits; fatigue; nausea; urine or vomiting Cancer Visit doctor who may advise you diagnostic tests
Increased appetite after starting a new medication A side effect of medications such as corticosteroids, antidepressants or some allergic medications Talk to your doctor, he may change the medicine
Decreased appetite after starting new medication A side effects of drugs like cancer drugs, some antibiotics, narcotic pain relievers Talk to your doctor, he may change the medicine. Some tome side effects disappear after few days or weeks of taking medications


Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Mild increase in fever with no other symptoms Exercise, menstruation, heavy clothing, heat Normal body temperature is 98.6 F.
A moderate fever (100.5-104.5 F) accompanied by nasal discharge, sore throat, cough, earache, vomiting or diarrhea A viral or bacterial infection such as cold or fl, throat infection, ear infection, bronchitis or urinary tract infection Antipyretics like Ibuprofen can reduce fever. If fever lasts for 3 days call doctor.
A high fever accompanied by confusion, stiff neck, difficulty in breathing, hallucinations A viral or bacterial infection, kidney infection or other serious condition Go to emergency especially if patient seems lethargic or unresponsive. Or Visit to the doctor
Fever after starting a new medication Side effects of medications like antibiotics, antihistamines, anti seizures medications and hypertension drugs Talk to the doctor and enquire of medicines need to be changed
A mild fever that occurs after vaccination A side effect of routine immunizations like diphtheria, tetanus and pneumonia Fever usually subsides in a day or two.
A rapid dramatic increase in body temperature after exposure to heat, sun accompanied by rapid pulse, nausea and disorientation Heat stroke or heat exhaustion Move to cool place. Drink cool water. If symptoms persists call an ambulance.
Fever accompanied with other unexplained symptoms like weight loss, muscle or joint aches or stomach pains A wide variety of conditions and disease like cancer, ulcerative colitis, crohn's disease, HIV/AIDS or autoimmune diseases Visit your doctor.

Chronic Cough

Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
A cough accompanied by postnasal drip, repeated throat clearing, nasal discharge or phlegm Allergies or sinus infection Visit doctor, who may prescribe allergic medicine.
A cough after starting to take an ACE inhibitor A drug side effect; ACE inhibitors cause dry cough in 5 to 10% of patients Talk to the doctor, he may substitute with another drug.
A nighttime cough that brings wheezing or rattling sound Asthma Visit to doctor who may prescribe a bronchodilator
A cough with heartburn that occur more than twice a week Gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) Visit to the doctor who may prescribe antacids to inhibit stomach acid production
A cough that worsens with the time and accompanied by fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath Lung cancer Visit your doctor who may prescribe diagnostic tests
A dry cough accompanied by shortness of breadth Chronic Obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Visit your doctor, who may do a test to measure lung capacity and order chest X-ray

Confusion and memory loss

Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Sudden confusion or memory loss Head injury or concussion Take patient to the hospitals
During elderly stages, memory loss or confusion that begins gradually and does not interfere much with everyday life Normal age related memory loss Keep mind active and engaged in crosswords and puzzles.
During elderly stages, memory loss or confusion that begins gradually/suddenly and interferes much with everyday life. Dementia Take patient to the hospital
Sudden confusion: associated with blurred vision, slurred speech, sudden numbness on one side of the body. Stroke or transient ischemic attack Visit hospital. Early and prompt treatment can save your life.
Confusion that results gradually after a period of vomiting, diarrhea or exposure to heat or sunlight Dehydration Rehydrate by drinking lots of water
Memory loss or confusion after starting a new medication Side effects of certain medications like benzodiazepines or barbiturates Talk to your doctor about the symptoms, he might prescribe you another medication

Chest Pain

Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Squeezing, tightening pain that usually occurs around breastbone and may radiate to the jaws, back or teeth Angina Visit to the doctor immediately
Sharp pain that worsens with cough or deep breathing A lung condition such as pneumonia, collapsed lung or inflammation of the lungs Visit doctor
Burning pain accompanied by GI symptoms such as indigestion or reflux An ulcer, pancreatic disease or an inflamed gall bladder Visit doctor
Pain accompanied by anxiety racing pulse or shortness of breath Panic attack Breathe deeply and try to relax. Panic attack symptoms can mimic those of more serious conditions such as heart attack.

Excessive thirst

Symptoms Possible reasons Suggested Action
Thirst accompanied by chest pain, increased or decreased urination Heart, liver or kidney failure Call your doctor immediately
Thirst after starting a new medication A side effects of drugs such as diuretic, antihistamines, some antidepressants Visit your doctor. He might change your drug.
Thirst accompanied by increased urination, unexplained weight loss, increased hunger Hyperglycemia Visit you doctor who might test your blood sugar levels
A strong desire to drink with no other symptoms or with increased urination Psychogenic polydipsia Visit doctor
Thirst accompanied by excessive urination Central diabetes insipidus, a rare disorder caused by a deficiency of certain kidney proteins necessary to manage fluid balance See your doctor, who might order diagnostic blood tests


Wait M, Ed, Supercharge your health, proven ways to prevent illness, The Reader's Digest Assoc. Inc, New York ,2009