Various Conditions and the Symptoms To Watch Out For

Various illnesses and conditions can affect our health for the worst, though many have symptoms which can help to manage or even prevent the illness from recording too much long-term damage to our wellbeing if spotted quickly enough. Here, stair lifts provider Acorn Stairlifts points out the symptoms to take note of for six common conditions…

Breast cancer

breast cancer symptoms

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Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer across the US. Breastcancer.org estimates that there will be 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women across the nation in 2018 alone. While it is most common in women, it’s not uncommon for men to be diagnosed with breast cancer too.

Breast cancer may be treated before it can spread to other parts of the body if detected early enough though. Surgery is often the first type of treatment for the disease, followed by radiotherapy, chemotherapy or, in some instances, either biological or hormone treatments.

A lump or section of thickened breast tissue that forms around one of the breasts is often an early noticeable sign of breast cancer. It’s important to underline that many lumps around the breast will not be cancerous, but it’s wise to get any checked by a doctor if detected. Other symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • Pain around the breasts
  • One or both breasts changing in their shape or size
  • Dimpling on the skin of the breasts
  • Discharge from either nipple (which might be streaked with blood)
  • A rash on or around the nipple
  • The appearance of the nipple changing — perhaps becoming sunken into the breast.

These are all symptoms of breast cancer. Another potential sign of this disease though is a lump or swelling in either of the armpits.

Have worries about breast cancer? Check out the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Screening Guidelines for a raft of helpful advice.

Prostate cancer

The American Cancer Society claims that prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men behind just skin cancer. The organization estimates that in 2018 alone, there will be around 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer and around 29,430 deaths from the disease.

Prostate cancer symptoms

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Instant treatment may not be needed for men who have prostate cancer, however. A doctor may suggest either ‘active surveillance’ or ‘watchful waiting’ if the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms to appear, though some cases of the disease can be treated if spotted in the early stages — such as via radiotherapy (either standalone or alongside hormone therapy) or by surgically removing the prostate.

In its early stages, the majority of men will be unable to identify with any of prostate cancer’s signs or symptoms. This is due to the way the cancer grows. However, if the disease grows close to the urethra — the tube in a man’s body that he urinates through — initial symptoms will usually be seen. This is because the cancerous growth may press against the urethra and change the way that someone urinates. Possible changes to be aware of include if it becomes difficult to start urinating or empty the bladder, if there’s a weak flow when urinating or if it feels that the bladder has not properly emptied after urinating. Also look out for dribbling urine after urinating has finished, as well as if someone has the sudden urge to urinate or if they appear to urinate more often — especially during the night.

It is also more likely that alterations in the way that an individual urinates will be associated with the non-cancerous problem of an enlarged prostate, or a different health issue altogether. No matter what though, it’s wise to see a doctor if any of the above changes are detected.

Usually, prostate cancer will originate from a different location of the prostate than near to the urethra though. However, should the cancer break out of the gland or spread to other parts of the body, signs which could indicate this has happened include pain in the hips, pelvis or back, blood being evident in either semen or urine, weight loss that can’t be explained, and issues with either getting or keeping an erection.

Concerned that you may have prostate cancer? The American Cancer Society has advice on various tests available for prostate cancer if you’re worried or have developed another issue with your prostate gland.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition which forms when the tissue that’s located inside the joints breaks down. The result of this is inflammation, pain and restricted movement of the area of the body concerned — as well as the apparent weakness within the joints affected. Around 54 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis in the US, according to conservative estimates reported on by the Arthritis Foundation, with individuals of all ages affected.

Arthritis symptoms

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There is no cure for arthritis. However, various treatments are now available which can help to slow down the condition. To see if someone is beginning to suffer from arthritis, signs to watch out for include if they feel unusually fatigued and that this is sometimes accompanied by a general feeling of ill health, as well as if they suffer from stiffness in the morning that can last for a few minutes or even several hours. Be aware of stiffness in one or more of the body’s smaller joints too, and mild inflammation of the joints concerned. This inflammation may also cause surrounding tendons and ligaments to become unstable or deformed, meaning that the range of motion is decreased, while pain and inflammation of the joints may be accompanied by a low-grade fever.

Hoping to find out more about arthritis? Check out the Arthritis Foundation’s advice about living with arthritis for information and support if you believe someone you know is suffering from the condition.

Diabetes

Diabetes develops when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the US was estimated at 30.3 million as of 2015, with older members of society susceptible to developing the condition as their bodies change when they grow and age.

It’s important to get an early diagnosis, treatment and effective control procedure in place to maintain good health when suffering from diabetes. These steps will also reduce the risk of the body developing serious complications.

There are various signs to look out for to suggest that someone may have developed diabetes. This includes an individual using the toilet more frequently — especially during the night — losing weight unexpectantly, being very thirsty, and feeling much more tired. Also, take note if any cuts and wounds take much longer to heal, if blurred vision is experienced and if genital itching or thrush is encountered.

Are the symptoms of diabetes being displayed by someone close to you? The American Diabetes Association has guides on the treatment and care available throughout the US.

Dementia

Dementia is the term given to various brain disorders which results in a decline of brain function. The conditions are often progressive but eventually severe. According to a report by BrainTest, there are at least five million people across the US who are currently living with a form of age-related dementia.

Currently, there is no cure for any form of dementia. However, the number of deaths from the condition would be halved if the onset of dementia was delayed by five years.

People can be affected by dementia in a number of ways. The common early symptoms to watch out for though include someone suffering from memory loss or having difficulty concentrating. A person may also find it difficult to carry out daily tasks that they are familiar with — getting confused when trying to sort out the correct change when shopping, for instance — and struggle to either follow a conversation or find the right word when speaking to someone. Look out for individuals being confused about the time and the place where they are too, as well as mood changes.

Be aware of symptoms related specifically to Alzheimer’s disease too. This is since the Alzheimer’s Association has stated that this condition is the 6th leading cause of death across the entire United States. Symptoms related specifically to Alzheimer’s disease include individuals becoming confused when in environments they aren’t familiar with, having problems with their memory — they may regularly forget names, faces or events which have only recently occurred, for example — and repetitively asking questions. Other common symptoms include a person encountering increasing difficulty completing tasks or getting involved in activities which require planning or organization, as well as if they become more anxious or withdrawn.

Concerned someone you know is showing signs related to a form of dementia? There’s plenty of support available at The Alzheimer’s Association about what to do next.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis involves the bones weakening, in a condition that develops gradually over time. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, around ten million Americans have osteoporosis, with another 44 million individuals having low bone density — an issue that places them at an increased risk.

The following are the three main signs associated with osteoporosis:

  1. Multiple osteoporotic fractures in the spine can cause the back to lose its normal curvature — the result being a stooped back developing and a loss of height being witnessed as the vertebral bones in the spin begin to weaken and collapse.
  2. Sudden or intense back pain being suffered without warning or from doing something small, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.
  3. Fractures being suffered after having what at first seemed like a minor incident, such as slipping on the pavement or even making a sudden movement.

Worried about osteoporosis? The National Osteoporosis Foundation has this guide to treatment options for osteoporosis which should prove useful.

So many more conditions could have been looked at within this article. However, hopefully the advice provided will help to keep loved ones healthy and also highlight how spotting signs and symptoms early can prove very beneficial.

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