You get a random cough, a pain, a twitch. Is it a symptom of something you should worry about? For its June issue, More magazine queried medical experts on the significance of some symptoms reported by older women. A few examples of what they said:
Nagging dry cough when you’re not sick. A previous infection might have “reset” your cough reflex, so things that don’t normally induce a cough now do. (Treatment can be anticonvulsants or antidepressants.) A cough can also be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can be treated with diet or drugs. And a recurring dry cough with shortness of breath may be related to bronchitis or another lung disease.
Your feet make a cracking noise when you get out of bed. Most likely some tendons or ligaments are slipping over a bone as you stand up. Don’t worry, but if you also have pain, stiffness or swelling, you might have osteoarthritis.
Twitching eyelids. Usually due to fatigue, dry eye or stress, twitches are extremely common and usually not worth worrying about. But to stop the twitching immediately, press a finger against the eyelid for 30 to 60 seconds.
Ringing in your ears. As we age, hair cells in the inner ear degenerate, making auditory neurons hyperactive, acting as if they are stimulated by sound when they aren’t. The resulting ringing or whooshing in your ears, called tinnitus, can also have other causes, including high blood pressure. Usually you just have to live with it, but you may be able to mask the unwanted sound by putting on white noise, such as that made by a fan.
Other conditions that More discusses include nighttime foot cramps, floating spots in your eyes, dizziness and heart palpitations.
By Nancy Szokan