Paying attention: Two body signs that cannot be ignored

Monday July 6 2020


By Dr Chris

I know you will agree with me that whenever you find imperfections on your body when you look in the mirror, you are quick to blame on aging, or stress but really that’s not all the signs that something is wrong with your body.

First of all, you need to understand how the body works. It works in a system and it’s made up of multiple components.

When one of those components doesn’t work, most of the time they can show signs on your physical appearance. If one part is not working, another part of the body compensates.

That’s how your body maintains something we call, ‘homeostasis’. It simply means how the body maintains the balance when it functions.

Many times, we tend to ignore or rather take for granted when something fishy pops up on our bodies and in one way or another, interferes on how physically we appear.

This way we may ignorantly allow many health issues to manifest and potentially expose us to various complications later while we could avoid them by just getting rid of them when they initially showed their physical symptoms.


Various diseases like certain types of cancers, skin issues, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, cardiovascular metabolic diseases and other issues start to show their little symptoms physically before they become fatal and difficult to manage.

The two common signs that we ignore, but shouldn’t are:

1. Dry eyes

Gritty, itchy, burning and uncomfortable eyes. Sounds familiar?

If you work a desk job, there’s no question as to what’s causing your dry eyes — it’s your incessant screen time. But if you have spent a good amount of time away from technology and they’re still itchy and painful, consulting a doctor could be wise.

Dry eyes could happen from drinking too much, hyperthyroidism, or an autoimmune disease.

Try laying off the booze first. But if the condition is severe and persists no matter what you do to prevent it, depending on what other symptoms you have it could be linked to a real medical problem.

Dry eyes are a symptom of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and some thyroid disorders.

Tip: Staying hydrated is important, as is a balanced diet. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and look for ways to increase those foods rich in essential fatty acids and other eye-healthy nutrients in your daily diet.

2. Neck pain

What about those changes on your neck?

Sometimes you may feel you have a thin chin, or sometimes you may feel your neck is thick and is undergoing stiffness, and assume that all is normal or just a cosmetic problem, no!

I can tell it’s a serious risk factor for illness called sleep apnea, which can completely expose you to so many issues including stroke, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and so on.

When you have sleep apnea, there are actually moments in the night where your airway completely closes whether it’s too small or too big, it closes.

And what happens, it ruins the quality of your sleep. We have all heard our partners snoring at night.

The tricky part of snoring is, if you have this problem, you can’t really notice if you have one because at times you can not sense when you are snoring when you are asleep.

But when it has effects on your body, it starts to show its signs on your neck, this is especially true when you regularly notice that your you feel pain around your neck, it becomes stiff and you notice the enlarged lymph nodes around it and you really can’t notice what might be the reason behind.

Therefore don’t dismiss these important cues from your body that could signal huge health problems. Your life may depend on it.

The author is the medical doctor based in Dar es Salaam.