What is your body trying to tell you?

Doctor says 'body conversation' provides critical clues

DETROIT – Consider this for a moment: Do you pay more attention to your car's health than your own?

It sounds ridiculous, but many people are quick to take their car in to see the mechanic at the first sign of trouble, but ignore their own "warning lights" for weeks, months or even years.

"We die of heart disease because we're not paying attention," said Dr. T. Jann Caison-Sorey, medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Caison-Sorey wants you to pay attention. Not to her -- to yourself.

"I call it the 'body conversation.' Understand what your body is telling you and act on it," she explained.

Caison-Sorey said too many people are ignoring those critical conversations.

"You get a twang. You get a little chest pain or you get that funny little feeling that you never had before.  And you kind of stop, slow down, a little short of breath, maybe you sweat a little bit,  but it goes away.   And (you think) 'I'm good again, I'm OK,'" said Caison-Sorey. "Your body will always warn you.  Even in a fatal heart attack, there's leading up symptom that says, 'Hmm, it's time for you to do something.'"

If your symptoms aren't serious enough to call 911, call your doctor.

"You should have a doctor that you trust. That you have access to. You can call. You know what to do after-hours if you have problems," said Caison-Sorey.

Don't dismiss subtle symptoms. Write them down and discuss with your doctor. They can be critical clues.

"It's the subtle symptoms that come and go that we as women tend to ignore," said Caison-Sorey.

Caison-Sorey also wants people with already diagnosed issues to get serious.

"If you have a history of diabetes or you have a history of hypertension and you've been diagnosed with heart disease, you have to be much more diligent about your health. This is not business as usual," said Caison-Sorey firmly.

That means having a cardiologist, getting the right tests and having a plan for your health.

Caison-Sorey is especially concerned about women who make a habit of putting their own health last.

"We're not necessarily going for our annual visits, checkups. We're really not doing what we need to do to take care of ourselves," said Caison-Sorey.

For anyone worried about bothering their doctor or taking up too much time, stop worrying.

"Take up our time. Tell us what's going on," urged Caison-Sorey. "The body conversation is store the information. Act on the information. Don't just let the information go."