Common (But Serious) Conditions You Should Know About

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We have so many things to keep track of in life. Phones are constantly attached to our hands, and we’re all subject to a 24-hour news cycle. As much as we’re alerted to things like Ebola, or more familiar conditions like heart attacks and breast cancers, other illnesses and lifelong conditions that can affect us don’t get a similar spotlight. They’re still dangerous and need to be looked out for, however, so here are common but serious conditions whose symptoms you should be aware of.

Myocarditis

Myocarditis awareness is growing, but many don’t know about this disease. It entails the inflammation of the heart muscle, causing it to weaken and enlarge. This, in turn, makes it harder for the heart to pump blood through the body. Weak circulation can also bring about other problems, including pain in the extremities.

One of the more surprising things about myocarditis is that it has no standard victim. While most heart patients are over age 55, inflammation of the heart can affect anyone, including small children and those who are athletic and otherwise healthy.

Knowing what to look for can be half the battle. Myocarditis shows itself by shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and swelling in the hands, feet, and ankles.

Skin cancer

Again, we have a lot of information and education for cancer, which is an abnormal growth of cells in our bodies. Cancer comes in many different forms: prostate, breast, cervical, etc, but the most common affects our largest organ: the skin.

It can present in various ways, and most doctors agree you should be paying attention if you have moles. Specifically look for ones that vary in color or size, or those that change shape over time. Groundbreaking clinical trials are giving us even more information on how to spot and treat skin cancer, but the very best medicine is prevention. Wear SPF every day, sunglasses and hats as much as possible when you’re outside, and visit your doctor regularly.

Diabetes mellitus

Chances are you know and love someone with diabetes. It’s affected more people in recent decades, with 1.6 million people dying from the disease in 2015 alone. A diagnosis of diabetes means that your glucose levels are too high. This can be reversed in some cases with a strict diet and vigorous exercise, but for a lot of people, a diagnosis means managing your weight and diet as best you can to maintain the lowest levels you can hit. Figuring out you have diabetes can be as easy as setting up an appointment with your doctor after noticing excessive thirst and/or urination, blurred vision, headaches, and fatigue, among other problems.

Another ailment that can come with diabetes with gastroparesis. While it’s rare, it can be deadly if not caught in time. Gastroparesis means that the stomach won’t digest food anymore and is paralyzed. Once someone has it, it can last for a few weeks to a year, or it can be a chronic illness for life. Recovery is dependent on how badly the nerves that control digestion were damaged. But without careful observation by a doctor, it’s possible to starve to death from it, or incur a heart attack from the weakened state the body is in. The patient-centered primary care can help to explain what’s happening to you as well as provide options to go about treatment.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a disease that affects 1 in 10 people worldwide, making it just as widespread as diabetes, but without the same recognition. It’s where uterine-like tissue grows outside of the uterus, sometimes eating into other organs as it grows. It primarily affects women, though it may occur in men in very rare cases. Its cause isn’t yet known, and the only treatment is excision surgery. This is where a surgeon will not only cut down to where the tissue is originating, but will burn that area as well. Another, less successful surgery is ablation, where the top of the tissue is burned off. It can be scary to see how prevalent this is and know how many people don’t understand it, but someday endometriosis will be as well-known as diabetes.