Pay attention to symptoms

*Persistent cough for several weeks. This may be a symptom of tuberculosis, bronchitis, allergies, asthma or lung cancer.

*Frequent nighttime urination. This is a possible sign of diabetes as well as prostate problems or urinary- tract infections.

*Difficulty swallowing. This could signal a stricture of the lower esophagus, linked to heartburn or obesity. Can also signal esophageal cancer.

*Change in headache pattern. The onset of a new type of headache, especially if one-sided, could indicate temporal arteritis, a dangerous inflammation of facial arteries.

*Severe belly pains. Persistent pain (typically felt in the upper right abdomen and sometimes between the shoulder blades) may signal a serious gallstone attack.

*Brief loss of vision in one eye. This is a possible sign of arterial blockage, threatening a major stroke.

*White patch on the lip or in the mouth. A lumpy white patch could be an early sign of oral cancer.

With any of these symptoms, remember that early detection can boost your chance of recovery if a serious condition is diagnosed.

— Copley News Service