According to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, men tend to consult their doctor less often than women. They may skip annual checkups, ignore symptoms, or delay getting medical help when they need it. In some cases, these delays can be dangerous. Early diagnosis and treatment can often improve the outcome of many health conditions.
Severe bleeding, chest pain and high fever are symptoms that warrant urgent medical attention. But what about other symptoms, like the need to urinate more often or straining to go to the bathroom? Could they be symptoms of a serious illness?
It is important to see your doctor when you think something is wrong. Whether it’s unintentional weight loss or a change in your bathroom habits, here are nine symptoms that could be a sign of something serious.
If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor or go to the emergency room to get the care you need.
1 Shortness of breath
Chest pain is a common sign of a heart attack, but there are other signs you may not be aware of. Although the symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person, certain warning signs may indicate that you are at risk, such as shortness of breath on exertion. For example, if you have trouble catching your breath after an easy walk, this may be an early sign of coronary ischemia. This condition is manifested by the partial or complete obstruction of an artery that carries blood to the heart. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience chest pain or shortness of breath. Go to the emergency room if you experience symptoms of a heart attack, such as:
– pressure in your chest
– feeling chest tightness
– extreme shortness of breath
2 Black or bloody stools
The color of your stools may change from day to day, depending on the foods you eat and the medications you take. For example, if you eat beets, your stools may be disturbingly red. Likewise, iron supplements and some diarrhea medications can temporarily turn your stools black or tar-colored. Anything in the brown or green spectrum is normal. But if your stools are black, bloody, or pale, it could indicate that you have a problem. In some cases, this problem can be serious.
Black stools can indicate bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract. Brown or bloody stools may indicate bleeding in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Your doctor will likely check for signs of bleeding, hemorrhoids, or ulcers. Slightly colored stools may signal a problem with the liver or bile ducts. If you notice any unusual changes in the color of your stool, contact your doctor immediately.
3 Frequent urination
Frequent urination can be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes can cause you to urinate frequently because your kidneys have to work overtime to remove excess sugar from your blood. Prostate problems can also lead to frequent urination. Other symptoms of prostate problems include decreased flow when you urinate, discomfort in the pelvic area, and blood in the urine or semen. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate enlargement, is a common condition in older men. Although it is common, you should not ignore its symptoms, as they may be the same as other more serious conditions.
Consult your doctor if you experience the one of the above symptoms.
Occasional constipation is normal. Most people suffer from it from time to time, and it often becomes more common after 50 years. But chronic constipation can be more worrisome. Chronic constipation can cause you to push and strain when trying to have a bowel movement. This increases the risk of developing hemorrhoids, which can cause bleeding and discomfort around the rectum. Chronic constipation can also be a sign that something is preventing your stool from coming out properly. A tumor, polyp, or kink in your intestines can block your colon. You may also have an underlying disease that causes abnormal colon motility.
Early diagnosis is important to rule out serious conditions, such as colon cancer .
5 Erectile dysfunction
In addition to problems with sexual performance, erectile dysfunction can be a sign of a more serious problem, such as cardiovascular disease.
Erectile dysfunction can also be due to increased stress or depression. If you’re having these issues, talk to your doctor about medication options and mental health counseling. Erectile dysfunction is a condition that doctors often treat. The sooner you tackle the problem, the sooner you can find a solution.
6 Frequent heartburn
Many people have occasional heartburn after eating a greasy burger or a lot of pasta. But if you have heartburn after every meal, you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease. This condition is also known as acid reflux. If you have acid reflux, stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. If left untreated, this stomach acid can erode the tissues of your esophagus and cause irritation or ulcers. In rare cases, chronic GERD can lead to esophageal cancer. GERD symptoms can also mimic other rare but treatable problems. In some cases, you may think you have heartburn when you are actually suffering from heart problems. Consult your doctor if you have a long history of heartburn.
7 Excessive snoring
Chronic loud snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. In this case, your throat muscles relax and temporarily block your airways while you sleep. This can lead to breathing problems and disrupt your sleep pattern. These constant interruptions can make you feel sleepy or tired, even after you’ve gotten enough sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart failure, or abnormal heart rhythms. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea have also been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
8 Breast mass
You may think that breast cancer is a disease that only affects women, but that’s not true. See your doctor if you feel a lump or thickening of your breast tissue, or if your nipple darkens, turns red, or begins to discharge. Early diagnosis is key to getting the treatment you need.
Take charge of your health by making an appointment with your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms. It can be a natural sign of aging or an easily treatable condition, but it’s important to rule out any serious causes. In some cases, these symptoms may indicate that you have a serious medical condition. Early recognition and treatment of a problem can often improve your chances of full recovery.
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