(WellnessPursuits.com) – Common illnesses tend to be just that – common, with the same signs and symptoms we’re usually really good at recognizing. Some illnesses, on the other hand, can be symptom-free in their early stages. And worse? Their symptoms might even mimic other conditions, leading you down a path of misdiagnosis and poor treatment.
Don’t fret. We’ve put together a list of 10 hidden, yet not unheard of, health conditions that like to fly under the radar. Here’s what you should keep an eye out for.
1. Low Vitamin D
Feeling depressed without a history or real trigger? Those “down” feelings aren’t uncommon from time to time, and depression can certainly come with pain or sensations of weakness. Depression, bone pain, muscle weakness, fatigue and brain fog are also signs of a Vitamin D deficiency. Low levels of vitamin D can cause a host of other conditions, including heart disease and asthma. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned. Vitamin D testing is as simple as a round of bloodwork and can be treated with supplementation.
Osteoporosis is truly “silent,” often with no symptoms at all until. You may be plugging along one day feeling fine and suddenly find a fall comes with a fracture. You might have some back pain or tooth loss, but even those symptoms are rare. The upside is doctors are very conscious of the risk factors associated with the condition, including age, gender, and hormonal imbalances. You can naturally improve your odds of avoiding osteoporosis by eating a healthy diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, but you may need to talk to your doctor about bone-strengthening medications as well.
Fatigue, weight gain, intolerance to cold, dry skin and hair loss are all annoying and happen to the best of us from time to time. They’re also very subtle symptoms of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. While thyroid conditions are sneaky, they’re also common, so your doctor will likely start to screen you automatically sometime in your mid-30s unless there is reason to do so earlier. Treatment generally includes medications to bring your thyroid hormone levels back into balance, but eating foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and leafy greens may also be helpful.
4. Type 2 Diabetes
Tired all the time? Vision occasionally blurry? Suddenly thirstier than you usually are? These are all things we may shrug off, or maybe not even notice at all. They, along with numbness, tingling, and spending too much time in the bathroom, are also signs of type 2 diabetes. Be conscious of your age, weight, blood pressure numbers, and family history. If caught in the “pre” stage, you may be able to reverse symptoms with diet. If you catch it too late, you may find yourself spiraling into a complicated rabbit hole of finger pricking, oral meds, insulin injections, and strict dietary adjustments.
High blood pressure impacts every system in your body, eventually contributing to the development of heart disease, kidney problems, strokes, aneurysms, vision problems, and dementia. A lot of people don’t feel the symptoms of damaging high blood pressure until it gets super high. Watch out for headaches, dizziness, tingling or numbness in the face, and nosebleeds. Very high blood pressure is a medical emergency, and you should call your doctor or head to the nearest emergency room for treatment. The good news is medications, dietary changes, and exercise are all helpful when it comes to keeping those numbers low.
6. High Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels come with almost no symptoms. You might start to have swelling or breathing problems as plaque builds up in your arteries. A lot of people don’t realize they have a problem until they have a heart attack or stroke. Make sure you’re visiting your doctor for your annual well-visit. Cholesterol levels are almost always checked during routine blood work and can be controlled with medications (statins) and dietary changes.
Fibromyalgia is a bit of a medical enigma, but it’s generally a disease that causes widespread skeletomuscular pain. Its symptoms also include fatigue, sleep, memory and mood problems — which of course can be confused with depression and a host of other disorders. Fibromyalgia has no real cure, but there’s hope for those with a diagnosis. Your doctor can prescribe medications to help you control your symptoms during flare-ups, and there are some exercises you can do to keep them at bay or reduce their severity.
8. Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Fatigue? Again? Yup. Other symptoms of anemia include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and a rapid heartbeat. As with so many of the other conditions listed, these symptoms — you guessed it — match a myriad of other disorders. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned. Your doctor may dig a little deeper to find out if there is an underlying cause for your anemia, but a round of blood work will provide answers, and carefully monitored iron supplementation is usually all that’s needed to control your symptoms.
9. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Irregular periods, facial hair growth, weight gain, thinning hair, pelvic pain, and acne are symptoms most women are familiar with – but they’re also signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Younger women may also have fertility issues, while older women may think they’re entering menopause early. The symptoms can be mild or very painful. Talk to your doctor about testing and treatment options.
10. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Do you wake up exhausted? Does your partner complain about your snoring? Do you ever wake up gasping for air? You may brush these things off as having a bad night, but they’re very important signs of an incredibly underdiagnosed condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Left untreated, OSA can have a serious impact on your entire body, especially your heart, kidneys, and lungs. Talk to your doctor about scheduling a sleep study. A CPAP machine to help you breathe at night, dietary changes, sleeping position adjustments, and even weight loss may help you get your symptoms under control.
Being aware of these hidden health conditions and their easy-to-miss symptoms might considerably extend your life. Never be afraid to discuss symptoms with your doctor, and don’t be afraid to press for answers if your symptoms persist. You may just save your own life!
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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