The Dr. Oz Alphabet: Your Health From A-Z

From A to Z, Dr. Oz tackles the entire alphabet of your health. He reveals the warning signs your body may be sending you. Learn how to treat your skin problems, fight colds, improve digestion, supercharge your immunity, get a good night’s sleep, and spice things up in the bedroom!

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Whether it’s A for “Abdominal bloating,” H for “Hives,” or Z for needing to get more “Zzzs,” your common health issues cover the entire alphabet (and then some). Here, Dr. Oz explores it all, starting with the warning signs from A to D your body is sending you about your health.

A: Abdominal Bloating 

If your abdomen feels bloated, your body may be signaling the presence of diverticulitis, or an infection of the large intestine. Your large intestine’s job is to squeeze bowel movements through the body and out. Sometimes, however, the intestine’s lining is pushed out into little pouches, creating a condition called diverticulosis, which affects about 2 out of every 3 people at some point in their lives. But if fecal matter gets waylaid in those pouches, an infection can set in, causing diverticulitis. Once an infection has begun in your intestine, there is a risk it can rupture into your abdominal cavity, leak blood and become life-threatening. If, in addition to bloating, you experience severe abdominal pain or fever, it may mean diverticulitis, and you should see your doctor.

B: Bladder Issues 

Bladder issues, such as frequent urination or burning, may mean your body is signaling a spreading urinary tract infection. Many women experience UTI, or a bacterial infection of the bladder. Sometimes the bacteria can ascend to the uterus, releasing pus into the kidneys and even spreading into the blood. In a worst-case scenario, what started as a normal UTI can lead to organ failure.  

How do you know if you have a typical UTI or if your body is alerting you to something more serious? If, in addition to typical bladder issues, you experience fever, a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, or back pain, see your doctor as it may be a sign your UTI is spreading and should be treated immediately with antibiotics.

C: Changes in Smell  

Change, and especially loss, of smell may be your body’s way of signaling the onset of Alzheimer’s.

One of the first parts of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s is the olfactory cortex, which is responsible for our sense of smell. If your ability to identify scents diminishes, it may mean more than just sinus issues.

Here’s a simple test. Have a friend lay out the following 12 scent items: strawberry, smoke, soap, peppermint, clove, pineapple, natural gas, lilac, lemon, leather, rose, and cherry. If you cannot identify at least 9 of the 12 items by smell, talk to your doctor.

Click here for complete instructions to an Alzheimer’s smell test that will help you evaluate your memory.