Weird Symptoms that Shouldn’t Be Ignored

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork is joined by Pfizer’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall to discuss four weird medical symptoms that you should not ignore.

  • The first symptom you need to be mindful of is seeing flashes of light.

Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall says that if you see a flash that looks like lightning in your eye, but there’s no storm outside – your vision could be in jeopardy! Sudden flashes of light or what seems like a veil or curtain coming down over the eye may mean you are experiencing retinal detachment.

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that the retina is a critical layer of tissue in the back of the eye. If it pulls away from the layer of blood vessels that provides it with oxygen, it can lead to blindness. Inflammatory eye disorders, injury to the eye and advanced diabetes can cause this to happen.

You may save your vision if you catch retinal detachment early, so seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of these weird symptoms.

  • The second symptom you should be aware of is your breath smelling like nail polish remover.

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that our breath could smell that way because your body makes ketones when it breaks down fat. Ketones include acetone, the active ingredient in nail polish remover.

Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall says that sometimes the cause of this can be as simple as eating a very low carb, high fat diet. But for some, this weird mouth odor could indicate type one diabetes AND that your body is in danger! Ketone breath can be a symptom of a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis.

Other symptoms of ketoacidosis are:

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • weakness

  • excessive thirst

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms along with breath that smells like nail polish, seek immediate medical attention!

  • The third symptom you should be aware of is WEIRD cravings.

Having odd cravings for things like ice or even dirt could mean a mineral or other nutritional deficiency. With ice and dirt, it usually means the body needs more iron and may be experiencing a type of anemia. If you are having these odd cravings, talk to your doctor.

  • The last symptom you should be aware of is a sudden urge to steal!

Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall says a sudden urge to steal could be an early sign of a type of dementia! Dementia is a decline in memory or thinking skills, the most common being Alzheimer’s. Unfounded suspicions that OTHERS are stealing may signal a different kind of dementia.

Other red flags of dementia are:

  • personality changes like loss of empathy or inhibition

  • new behaviors such as hoarding or inappropriate public displays

So if you are noticing a loved one take on these behaviors, speak to their doctor about it. And talk to your doctor about any weird changes in your body, especially if you’re at risk for or have diabetes.

Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall says if you use the internet to try and pinpoint the cause of weird symptoms -- don’t let that be your final diagnosis! When you do search for health information, look for trusted sources such as the CDC or NIH.

One place you can start is and sign up for the GHSH newsletter.

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