I’ve become a prisoner in my home because of the ridiculous weather of the past few weeks. I’m not complaining because I love my home and realize how blessed I am to have one. But I also know that single digit temperatures are as harmful to my health as the heat and high humidity of summer weather. So home is where you’ll find me.

I miss being outdoors with the ability to freely come and go. I don’t enjoy having to worry about a dip in temperature or what the wind chill factor is going to be.  

When you live with a chronic illness you learn the importance of listening to your body, actually hearing what it’s trying to tell you. I’ve had this body for fifty-six years and I’ve learned that it’s smarter than I ever imagined.

  • Throbbing headache? Change in air pressure.

  • Aching bones? A change in the weather pattern.

  • Tingling sensations in my feet? Too much stress.

  • Momentary jabs of pains in my back? Drink more water to avoid more kidney stones.

  • Itchy skin? Moisturize more often.

  • Constipated? Use a laxative.

  • Weakness and dizziness? The possibility of an MS flare-up. 

As we age it’s even more important to pay attention to our bodies. Pain is always telling us something, and lesser-known signs such as a bulging stomach or yellow bumps on the eyelids could also signal that something is wrong. 

I’m not advocating for everyone to go into panic mode, but I do think knowledge is powerful in taking good care of ourselves.  

If you begin experiencing symptoms that are unusual to you, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Keep a daily journal of what’s happening and record daily changes. It’s helpful to share this information with your doctor.

We live in a fast-paced world and sometimes we forget to make our health a priority. In today’s healthcare system doctors are often overwhelmed, inundated and pressed for time. Too many office visits become costly. So it’s a good idea to not only listen to our bodies but to also follow preventive medicine. 

This includes scheduling regular examinations with doctors to maintain your health, such as:

  • Mammograms

  • Colonoscopies

  • Dental and eye exams

  • Annual visits to your internist and gynecologist

Visit the doctor.

If applicable, schedule visits with specialists such as a:

  • Cardiologist

  • Dermatologist

  • Endocrinologist

  • Neurologist

  • Oncologist

  • Orthopedist

  • Otorhinolaryngology (ENT)

  • Podiatrist

  • Rheumatologist

  • Urologist

Taking the time to listen to your body is the most important thing you can do for yourself. So listen up!

To read more about this topic here’s an interesting article from The Wall Street Journal titled “What Your Body Is Telling You: Brittle Nails, Spider Veins and Other Seemingly Innocent Oddities Could Signal Serious Trouble -- or Not.”

Cathy Chester blogs at An Empowered Spirit, which won third prize in Healthline’s Best Health Blog Contest in 2014, was named #2 of the “Top 10 Social HealthMakers in MS” by Sharecare “ and received a nomination for the past 3 years as WEGO Health’s Best in Show Blog. She is a contributor for The Huffington Post as well as a blogger for MultipleSclerosis.net and Boomeon. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Midlife Boulevard, BetterAfter50, Erma Bombecks’ Writers Circle, The Friendship Circle and Woman at Woodstock.