This isn’t only true for children, but adolescents and adults as well. It is a sad fact, but a true one none the less, that disease has no regard for gender or age. Familiarizing ourselves with some basic knowledge of the symptoms of diseases may be the best education we can ever obtain.
Unless we have been adopted and know little to nothing about our heritage, we should be able to judge the likelihood of contracting some diseases by looking at what our families have had to deal with in our family tree.
My mother was a diabetic who also had heart disease. Not that I went looking for either, but I and my physician, armed with this knowledge, have taken extra notice with each symptom I have had that could point to either disease. My father had by-pass surgery when he was 65. A fact of life is we grew up on a farm where we slaughtered and processed our meat, and a greater percentage of everything we ate was fried. Even though he died in March 2011, at the age of 102 with his mental faculties still intact, the fact that he had some heart irregularities has added extra precaution to my care as I get older.
So what symptoms should you look for that could be indicative of a disease?
1. Heart problems – These may vary among women and men, however any discomfort in the chest area that is not taken care of by Tums or an anti-acid should be taken seriously. One factor is the same, however, in both men and women, and that is a history of leading a lifestyle that includes abuse of the heart, such as smoking, obesity, and lack of exercise, to name a few. One who has had a blatant disregard for their lifestyle with an attitude of “I’ll live and enjoy life until I die” may end up not having much of a life to enjoy after a few years of living without regard to the future consequences of his lifestyle choices. Whoever said, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself”, was not jesting but speaking the truth too late.
2. Alzheimer’s – This is another disease with warning signs. What has been referred to as dementia for many years is now recognized as Alzheimer disease. The difference between the two is the fact that Alzheimer’s is a disease, where dementia has symptoms that are similar, but are related to the aging process, like memory loss, and a decline in thinking and reasoning skills. Dementia is not caused by Alzheimer’s disease; however the severity of the symptoms would merit a visit with a doctor who specializes in Gerontology, or the study of the aging process.
3. Parkinson’s disease – Parkinson’s is diagnosed in an average of 50,000 patients each year. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease typically begin appearing between 50 and 60 years of age. They develop slowly and often go unnoticed by family members, and even the individual who has the symptoms. Some individuals only have symptoms on one side of their body that never progress to the other side.
The most common symptoms include tremors or shaking of the hands, arms, or legs. When awake, sitting, or standing, the tremors may subside when the person moves the affected part of the body. Stiff muscles (rigidity) and aching muscles are other common symptoms. One of the most common early signs of Parkinson’s disease is a reduced arm swing on one side when the person is walking that is caused by rigid muscles. Rigidity can also affect the muscles of the legs, face, neck, or other parts of the body, and may cause muscles to feel tired and achy.
4. Cancer – Cancer is a group of diseases that can cause almost any signs or symptoms. The signs and symptoms will depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, and how much it affects the organs or tissues. If a cancer has spread (metastasized), signs or symptoms may appear in different parts of the body.
5. Thyroid – Your thyroid is a gland in the front of your neck. It controls your metabolism, which is how your body turns food into energy, and it also affects your heart, muscles, bones, and cholesterol.
When the thyroid secretes too much thyroid hormone, it is referred to as Hyperthyroidism. By producing too much your body may speed up on many of its functions, like weight loss, rapid heartbeat, sweating a lot, or becoming moody and out of sorts. On the other hand, there is also hypothyroidism, which shows the thyroid is not producing enough, or any, thyroid hormone.
6. Diabetes – Type 1 diabetes, which is insulin dependent, and type 2, which shows up in adulthood, are not diseases one can see in a mirror. However there are certain symptoms that should cause enough alarm to have one checked by a physician. Extreme thirst, excessive hunger, frequent urination, fatigue, and weight loss (rapid or sudden) can all be indicative of a diabetes problem. Hopefully you can catch the onslaught of diabetes in time to correct it with a lifestyle change of diet and exercise.
7. Gum disease – Gum disease is also known as periodontal disease. One out of every two adults has gingivitis and may not even know it. Report to your dentist such things as bleeding gums, gums that are red, tender, or swollen, or gums that seem to be pulling away from your teeth.
8. Kidney disease – Kidneys are designed to filter waste products and excess salt and fluids from the body, in addition to producing hormones that stimulate red blood cell production, control blood pressure, and strengthen our skeleton. Disorders that injure the kidneys result in the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition in which the normal functions of the kidney are impaired, which can, in turn, have a significant negative impact on the health and well-being of the affected person.
When the very process of filtering the toxins, excessive salt and fluids, and waste products from our body is hindered, our body gives off signals that something is not right. Among the symptoms are blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, loss of appetite, dry and itchy skin, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and poor school performance. As the kidney function worsens, one can experience weight gain from excess fluids, swollen feet and ankles, puffiness around the eyes, and high blood pressure. Anemia (low red blood cell count) often occurs and contributes to the feeling of fatigue, and nausea/vomiting may result in poor food intake and the development of malnutrition.
9. Gallbladder disease - After doing some research I learned the problem I once had with cramping that was so severe, a trip to the ER did no good was likely the result of gallstones. The following web site:http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_symptoms_of_gallstones, told me that about 90% of gallstones cause no symptoms. There is a very small (2%) chance of developing pain during the first 10 years after gallstones form. It took several trips to the ER and one trip to my primary care physician, when I was in the middle of an episode, to see what my problem was. There are symptoms to pay attention to and once diagnosed the problem can easily be taken care of.
10. Depression – Depression has received much more attention in the last 20 years than in decades prior. It is not the mark of mental illness that it once was, largely because understanding the whys and wherefores of depression is better known. In the mid-1900’s and earlier, people were placed in an insane asylum for being in a depressed state, especially women who were experiencing menopause. I cringe at the thought of being placed somewhere where no help could be found, for I have had bouts of depression and often the help of medicine for a chemical imbalance made a world of difference in my outlook in only a few days. Symptoms of depression may vary from men to women and even children, and the symptoms should not be ignored. People have been known to have suicidal tendencies when the feeling of hopelessness lingers, and this feeling of hopelessness, like there is no way things can change tomorrow, and the feeling of worthlessness’ and like no one cares, are two of the most common symptoms. Another common symptom is the feeling of uselessness and like you are no good for anyone, as well as wanting to sleep and being unable to do the little chores of a daily routine. Instead of ignoring these symptoms you should contact a doctor and get help.
Take care of yourself, and if there is something out of the ordinary happening to your body, your skin, or in your mind, there is an answer. Getting to the right source for help may prolong your life.