Seeing a doctor for regular checkups, at least once a year, is vital but not common. Half of the men age 18 to 50, in one study, did not have a regular attending physician and nearly one-third went a year without a checkup. There are many medical conditions, illnesses, and diseases that are treatable when detected in their early stages. Understanding the importance of preventive care and monitoring your health status is important to everyone’s health. This is a list of five conditions that can go undetected if you do not have regular checkups.
One of the most common types of disease that goes undetected is cancer. Ovarian cancer in women, stomach cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer in men are the typical forms of cancer that go undetected. When these forms of the disease are discovered, often it is too late for treatment to be effective.
For example, a patient with colon cancer may complain of stomach pain or go for a period of time without experiencing a bowl movement. Over time, as the cancer manifests itself, the pain will become more severe, requiring hospitalization for relief, at which point the cancer will be discovered, usually too late. But a simple colonoscopy during a routine exam would detect the presence of the cancer cells. Cancer in many forms (i.e. colon, ovarian, stomach, and prostate) presents itself with small aches and pains that a patient will ignore as normal in the area where the cancer cells are growing. Once the cancer cells multiply over time, the severity and frequency of the pain will persist until the patient has to seek assistance.
Kidney disease, which is every bit as serious as the presence of cancer cells, shows itself through swelling in the ankles, frequent vomiting, and sleeping or breathing problems. It occurs when damage to the kidneys causes fluid and other waste collected in the organ to build up and leak into the body. This can occur from high cholesterol levels, which may be genetic or dietary. Over time, this build-up may cause the kidney to cease functioning or fail, requiring immediate medical attention or dialysis.
Mental illness is a silent disease that many people suffer from and do not seek treatment for. A person who is normally active and suddenly withdraws from family and personal relationships may be displaying some signs of social anxiety disorder, a form of mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide resulting from mental illness is the third leading cause of death among young people 15 to 24.
Individuals who suffer from liver disease may live with the symptoms for years before discovering that they are sick. The disease can be detected early by yellowing skin or chronic pain. Because the pain from liver ailments can come and go, it can be ignored. Whether it is heredity, from alcohol abuse or a virus, undetected liver disease can manifest into a more serious medical condition.
People who enjoy outdoor activities like hunting and fishing or are exposed to animals that may carry certain types of ticks, are susceptible to contracting Lyme disease. Fatigue, fever, headaches, and the development of a rash at the site of the tick bite are some of the symptoms associated with the disease. A person who suspects that they are suffering from Lyme disease should seek immediate antibiotic treatment; if left untreated it will lead to chronic joint pain, attack the nervous system, or cause cardiac arrest.
Gordon Dershowitz is a freelance health & medical science blogger based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Gordon recommends www.yourmesotheliomalawfirm.com for those affected by asbestos in need of legal assistance.
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