While many diseases and conditions such as influenza or psoriasis come with obvious symptoms, plenty come with seemingly innocent warning signs people end up wishing they hadn't ignored. No one wants to live life as a hypochondriac, which means people sometimes ignore symptoms they don't think are life-threatening. And particularly rare diseases can come without warning, making it difficult for a person to know they're in danger during the early stages.
To help others not make the same mistakes, Redditors came together to share health issues they should have looked into sooner. Unfortunately, a lot of these symptoms simply resembled other conditions basically everyone has or were misdiagnosed as something else. Either way, these neglected symptoms ended up demonstrating how important it is to pay attention to changes in your body. You may find your body just needs vitamins and supplements, but it could be something more serious.
(Comments have been edited lightly for clarity.)
From Redditor /u/buttershovel:
My sister started to get frequent migraines just after she turned 22. Frustrated, she did look into it - they happened more and more often. She went to the doctor, who waved it off as stemming from stress (her husband had just been sent to Afghanistan). My mom pushed for a CT scan, which the doctor said was unnecessary. My sister went home without any kind of prescription and a suggestion to come back in a few months if it persisted.
Well, a few weeks later, she had a massive seizure. Got taken to the emergency room where doctors discovered a tumor in her brain and diagnosed her with a rare form of brain cancer. She died within a year.
From Redditor /u/99_red_balloons_:
If it won't go away, get it checked out!
Last year I got what I thought was a blister on my leg. A few days later it had turned into a sore. I thought it was probably just the burst blister that was a bit raw. I was putting antibacterial cream on it, but it just wasn't healing... in fact, it was getting bigger and bigger.
A week after it first appeared, the sore was about the size of a quarter, still raw-looking and had a little black spot in the middle. That made me freak out a little bit so I went to my regular doc. She looked at it and said it looked like a spider bite, so she prescribed antibiotics (five-day course) and sent me on my way. By day three of the antibiotics, the skin around the black spot was starting to turn gray and the sore itself had doubled in size.
I couldn't get hold of my doc, so I went to the emergency room. The emergency doc took one look at it, admitted me, and scheduled surgery for the next morning. It turns out it was a serious flesh-eating bacteria. I had a big chunk cut out of my leg.
From Redditor /u/nuclear_blob:
Not me, but my grandfather had trouble breathing for a long time. It was nothing horrible - just shortness of breath, heavy breathing, etc. But he had to take care of my grandma. He went to the hospital where he started coughing (a dry cough, unable to stop). They diagnosed him with an aggressive form of lung cancer, and he died within three weeks.
The doctor told us if he had come earlier, they might have been able to save him.
From Redditor /u/whereswalda:
Anything that is persistent. If it's not going away, it's not "just" anything: it needs to be looked at.
Persistent, raging heartburn. I was young and dumb and uninsured, so I put it off. I put it off for nearly three months, by which point I was subsisting on plain yogurt and lentils and still having extremely painful bouts of heartburn and vomiting. I had lost a lot of weight and was consistently exhausted and in pain.
I finally went to the doctor - it was a raging case of H. pylori infection. It was cleared up with antibiotics, but my doctor warned me at the time that I had probably caused irreversible damage to my stomach and digestive system by waiting so long. She was right - within a year, the heartburn was back, along with the nausea and vomiting. I essentially gave myself a chronic disease by ignoring the initial infection.
Moral of the story: if it keeps coming back, don't ignore it. What could have been treatable before will turn into something worse.