It's tempting to ignore seemingly minor symptoms. Going to the doctor can be scary and also costly if you have to take off work or don't have insurance coverage. But such symptoms are often the only warning that a disease is developing. And it's not always obvious. A condition that appears innocuous could indicate heart disease or cancer. Consulting a doctor if you notice the following symptoms could prevent the progression of a serious condition and avoid big medical costs.
Blurred vision is commonly associated with myopia, or nearsightedness, which is easily remedied with glasses or contact lenses. Parents may save money over the long term by having an ophthalmologist or optometrist identify impairments in children early. Research indicates that corrective measures can slow the progress of some vision disorders. Sudden blurring of vision can be cause for a hospital visit, as it's associated with more serious health issues like diabetes, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.
Sometimes itchy skin is a sign of a disorder more serious and costly than just dry skin. Persistently itchy skin can be a symptom of conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis. Psoriasis alone costs the country upward of $50 billion a year, a 2015 study found. There are no cures for these conditions, but early diagnosis can save patients money over the long term by identifying cost-effective treatment. Itchy skin can also be a sign of liver disease or cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
Frequent memory loss can be a sign of many medical problems, but arguably the most serious and costly is dementia. Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for a majority of dementia cases, costs patients an average of more than $60,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, according to a 2015 study of Medicare beneficiaries. Although there is no cure, progress can be slowed and money can be saved by diagnosing the disease and starting drug therapy early, potentially forestalling the need for long-term care.
Sudden and seemingly random diarrhea could be a sign of a bacterial infection or, worse, a parasitic infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that millions of Americans carry parasites that go unnoticed or misdiagnosed. Parasites can cause serious and costly health conditions, such as seizures, pregnancy complications, and heart failure. Other potential causes of sudden changes in bowel movements include colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.