Watch out for these symptomless conditions that can blindside even the most healthy individuals. Here's what you need to know.
Not all life-threatening conditions announce themselves through obvious symptoms. That's why it's important to be extra attentive and to know all the subtle ways our bodies could be telling us to take better care of our health, to improve our chances of spending a long and happy life with those we love.
Let's take a closer look at some of the conditions that can show no obvious symptoms before it's too late.
Also known as Polycystic Ovarian syndrome, this condition occurs when a woman's body overproduces "male hormones" hindering the normal process of ovulation. Having PCOS also raises a woman's risk of developing heart disease or Type 2 Diabetes in the future. It usually affects women in their "childbearing years" or between the ages of 15 and 44.
Though it's exact cause is still unknown, it has been linked to genetic factors, insulin resistance, as well as inflammation in certain parts of the body. Women on the pill, typically in their 20s or 30s, often don't notice the symptoms of PCOS, which include irregular menstrual cycles. Women with PCOS may also develop facial or body hair, acne, and hair thinning. Once diagnosed, PCOS can be managed through lifestyle changes and medication.
What's worrisome about this condition is that although it is the most common type of cancer in both men and women it often presents no symptoms in its early stages. One subtle sign that is often overlooked is coughing, which lasts for up to two to three weeks, that persists even without a bacterial or viral infection. Coughing up blood is another symptom that should not be ignored.
High blood pressure
According to studies, about half of those with high blood pressure aren't aware they have the condition until they suffer an attack or a stroke. So it's important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. If your blood pressure is anywhere from 120/80 to 139/89, you may already have pre-hypertension.
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor if lifestyle changes or medications are needed in order to prevent your blood pressure from further escalating.
After the age of 45, it's best to have yourself screened for diabetes at least every 3 years. This is especially recommended for those who are overweight or those with high blood pressure and cholesterol.
In the United States alone, about 8 million out of 29 million people with this condition don't even know they have it. Here are some subtle signs to watch out for: dry mouth, extreme thirst, frequent peeing, frequent yeast infections, weight loss, restlessness, and blurry vision.
Those with glaucoma often don't notice they have the condition because vision loss usually occurs once they are in the advanced stage. Even if your vision starts to slowly become restricted, you often don't notice it as your brain tends to "fill in" the visual gaps. If you find yourself constantly tripping or knocking things over, you may want to consult your doctor. Losing your balance, depth performance, and the ability to determine the difference between light and dark may also be subtle signs.
It's especially important to get checked over the age of 40. At this age, screenings must be done every 2 to 4 years. Once you hit 65, check-ups must be done annually.
This condition occurs when you experience pauses in breathing while you sleep. It's not only common in overweight individuals. This condition increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Those with sleep apnea are loud snorers. They also experience breathing interruptions followed by sudden awakenings. Once they wake, they may find it difficult to catch their breath and that their mouths are dry or sore. Insomnia, morning headaches, attention deficits, irritability and daytime drowsiness may also be subtly signaling sleep apnea.
Women often experience more subtle symptoms of this condition---morning headache, mood irregularities, and fatigue. Another sign is constantly waking up in the middle of the night, as a response to the breathing interruptions.
You should see a doctor if your snoring gets so loud that it disrupts the sleep of others; if you experience difficulty of breathing or choking that jolts you wake or excessive drowsiness during the daytime.
Don't take subtle symptoms for granted! Prevention and preparedness is always better than last-minute fixes.