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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > September 2018 > WHAT’S YOUR BODY trying to tell you?

WHAT’S YOUR BODY trying to tell you?

Insomnia, headaches, dry skin… The health niggles we experience are often easy to explain away, but sometimes they may be clues to another condition that needs investigating. We look at some common symptoms and how to spot potential health issues

SOMETIMES, DECIPHERING PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS is a no-brainer: an itch that’s caused by a mosquito bite, sore muscles following yesterday’s workout, blisters thanks to that new pair of shoes. At other times, it’s not so straightforward. What’s to blame for a headache? What’s making your skin so dry? Why do you keep getting mouth ulcers? There could be multiple causes.

Of course, you could simply treat the symptom and pop a painkiller or dab on some topical relief. But if the issue is recurring, there’s a good chance something in your lifestyle – or another health condition – is behind it.

If the issue is recurring, there’s a good chance that something in your lifestyle is behind it

‘Getting to the root of what is happening, taking a holistic approach and treating the cause as well as the symptom can give you a better chance of long-term relief,’ says HFG expert and GP Dawn Harper. But, she cautions, make sure you investigate via a trusted source. Research conducted for the UK Digital Health Report found one in four people self-diagnose online and we’re more likely to type our symptoms into a search engine before we tell family, friends, a pharmacist or GP.

‘Tempting as it is to ask Dr Google, it’s important to remember that nothing can replace the opinion and advice of a qualified health professional,’ says Dawn. ‘If you do seek advice online, stick to reliable medical sites such as NHS Choices and patient.info rather than believing anything you read on an online forum,’ says Dawn. ‘If in doubt, always see your GP or a pharmacist.’

We consulted HFG’s team of experts to delve a little deeper into six common health symptoms. ‘Often you’ll need medical attention, but it’s surprising how much you can also achieve yourself by adjusting your diet,’ says nutrition editor Amanda Ursell. ‘So we’ve suggested food changes you can make to complement what your doctor says and help end those symptoms.’

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About Healthy Food Guide

We help you identify when your body's trying to tell you something, and give diet advice for protecting your eyesight in future years. Troubled by teens? We’ve got the ultimate survival guide for parents and teenagers, including focused nutrition info. We also take inspiration from the healthcare professionals battling their personal weight demons – and winning. And don’t miss the winning line-up of our Best of Health Awards to help you shop healthily into the new season...