It comes as a shock when you hear the doctor’s diagnosis. You went in for something minor and it turns out to be life altering…and perhaps life ending. Some serious medical problems sneak up on us with vague symptoms.
Coronary artery disease was my first introduction to this problem. It is a personal one, involving a family member. He’d gone for a hike and came back with a strange burning sensation in the center of his chest.
He’d been doing all the right things; he saw the doctor regularly and had many tests done to watch out for it. He ate a heart healthy diet. He also watched his father die of a heart attack, so he made an appointment to see our doctor.
The doctor couldn’t find anything wrong, but because of the family history, he referred my family member to a cardiologist. The cardiologist couldn’t find anything wrong, but again, family history caused him to order an angiogram. The results? Four stents. Three arteries were blocked, two of them over 90%. How could a “sore throat” do that?
High blood pressure is another silent killer. It damages many organs, and the only symptom may be a slight headache and reddened cheeks. Left unchecked, it can cause a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and other deadly ailments.
Speaking of kidney disease, that, too is silent until you hit about stage four out of five stages. You may develop gout, or notice a yellowing of the eyes, skin and nails. It’s hard to believe the diagnosis, even when it is nearly time for dialysis.
The best thing to do is catch each of these problems early. Go to your doctor, and when asked give them a complete family history. Many diseases have some genetic base. Knowing that there was a family history of heart disease saved my husband’s life.
Source: American Heart Association