5 diseases that may not show symptomsJune 23, 2017 | by Simon Moore
Chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden weakness – these can be signs of serious medical problems such as a heart attack or stroke. But wouldn’t it be nice to prevent these conditions before alarm symptoms begin?
Using laboratory testing and a comprehensive physician assessment, some diseases can be discovered before you ever notice any symptoms, and in some cases, can be prevented altogether.
Here are five common diseases that show no symptoms and why a regular health exam is important to prevent them.
You may be familiar with some of the common signs and symptoms of diabetes, including unusual thirst, frequent urination and extreme fatigue. However, it’s important to recognize that many people who have type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms at all.
If untreated, diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, or kidney failure. A regular health assessment, starting for most people at age 40 and older, is important to catch the disease early on.
2. CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Knowing the emergency symptoms for heart attack or stroke can help you act quicker and potentially save a life.
Unfortunately, causes of cardiovascular disease, such as plaque buildup in the arteries, don’t often show symptoms until it’s too late. While things like obesity, high cholesterol and smoking are all risk factors, cardiovascular disease can also occur in a seemingly healthy, active adult.
An annual health assessment is important to identify some of markers of cardiovascular disease to ensure you are taking important preventative measures.
3. COLON CANCER
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada. In fact, people with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling or offspring) who have been diagnosed with colon cancer, have a 2-3 times greater risk of developing it.
When detected early, it is 90 per cent preventable, however it’s common for people to experience no symptoms or early warning signs until the cancer has spread or metastasized. A regular screen for colon cancer is the first step to catching and even preventing colon cancer before it gets to these later stages.
4. SKIN CANCER
The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation reports that one in every three cancers diagnosed worldwide is a skin cancer. Approximately 80-90% of these cases are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Skin cancer is often diagnosed by an abnormal mole on the skin, however we can’t diagnose what we can’t see. Skin cancer on the scalp, back and groin often gets missed by self-examinations because these aren’t places we often check easily.
While self-examinations are important to help detect cancer early, a regular physical exam for people at risk can help the early detection of skin cancer in those unexpected areas.
5. OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles intermittently relax during sleep to block your airway, causing breathing to stop momentarily.
Once of the most common signs of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring. Many people with obstructive sleep apnea may not be aware that their sleep was interrupted, and may think they’ve gotten a good night’s sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It can also lead to complications with medications and during surgery. This condition can be easily diagnosed through a regular health screening with a physician.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Discovering these diseases early can prolong life and improve quality of life. Canadian medical guidelines recommend that all patients be checked for these conditions (and more) if they meet certain criteria. Ask your physician or primary care provider about annual screening tests and which conditions you should be tested for.
CUSTOMIZED HEALTH ASSESSMENTS AT FORTIUS
Fortius Sport & Health offers customized health assessments under our Health Performance Optimization (HPO) program for athletes and executive that want more out of their regular physical exam.
Visit our Health Assessment website page to learn more or to book your appointment today.
NOTE: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.