Spotting the signs of different conditions

There are many different health conditions that can prove to be very harmful to our health. Fortunately, many have tell-tale symptoms that can be detected at early stages, where it’s possible to either stop the process before it damages our health too much or at the least slow it down. Together, with stairlift manufacturer, Acorn Stairlifts, we advise on how to spot the signs of a number of different conditions:

Breast Cancer

The UK’s most common form of cancer is Breast cancer, with well over 50,000 cases of it being recorded by Cancer Research UK during 2015 alone. While it is most common in women, it’s not uncommon for men to be diagnosed with breast cancer, too.

If detected at an early stage, breast cancer can be treated before it spreads to nearby parts of the body. While it is most common in women, it’s not uncommon for men to be diagnosed with breast cancer, too.

The first symptom to look out for breast cancer is often a lump or area of thickened breast tissue developed around one of the breasts. 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 signs to keep an eye out for is if one or both of your breasts change their size or shape, also if there’s pain around the breasts or if there’s dimpling on the skin of the breasts. Observe the nipples of the breasts too. Discharge from either nipple (which might be streaked with blood), a rash on or around the nipple or the appearance of the nipple changing — perhaps becoming sunken into the breast — can all be symptoms of breast cancer. Another potential sign of this disease is a lump or swelling in either of the armpits.

If you are concerned about your body and feel that it has shown symptoms, then speak to your GP or check out Cancer Research UK’s guide on seeing the doctor to spot cancer early.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in the UK after breast cancer and the most common cancer in men across the country. Cancer Research UK recorded close to 50,000 new cases of prostate cancer throughout 2015 alone.

Treatment is however not instantly necessary for many men with prostate cancer. 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.

When it comes to prostate cancer, another thing to take note is that most men won’t have any signs or symptoms during the early stages of the disease. This is due to the way the cancer grows

Early signs tent to only be seen if the cancer grows near the urethra, and as it grows, it may press against it and change the way that you urinate. 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. However, changes in the way someone urinates is more likely to be associated with the non-cancerous problem of an enlarged prostate, or another health issue completely. No matter what though, it’s wise to see a doctor if any of the above changes are detected.

Usually, prostate cancer will begin to develop in a different part of the prostate. 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.

If you think your body is showing signs of prostate cancer, or you’re having other issues with your prostate gland then speak to your GP or read Prostate Cancer UK’s advice on prostate tests to find out how these procedures should be able to help.

Arthritis

Arthritis occur when tissue inside your joints breakdown, with the result of being inflammation, pain and restricted movement of the area of the body concerned, as well as the affected joint becoming weaker. An estimated ten million people suffer from arthritis in the UK, according to the NHS, with individuals of all ages affected.

There is unfortunately no cure for arthritis, however there are various treatments which are available that can help slow down the condition.

One of the first signs to look out for, within you or something you think maybe suffering from arthritis including if they’re feeling unusually fatigue. This is sometimes accompanied by a general feeling of ill health, as well as stiffness in the morning that can last for a few minutes or even several hours. Be aware of stiffness and/or 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.

For more information and support with regard to arthritis, take a look at the NHS’s advice about living with arthritis and Arthritis Care’s managing arthritis guide.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones, and condition that develops gradually over time, with more than 3 million people throughout the UK affected and over 500,000 individuals needing hospital treatment each year for fragility fractures.

There are 3 main signs to look out for when it comes to 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.

To find out more about Osteoporosis, read the NHS’s guide on treatment options for osteoporosis.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that Is the outcome if the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. The number of people currently diagnosed with diabetes in the UK is estimated by Diabetes.co.uk to be 3.5 million, with older members of society susceptible to developing the condition as their bodies change when they age.

It’s important to be diagnosed early, in order to be giving an effective treatment that can control the condition and maintain good health, because this will reduce the risk of the body developing serious complications.

The common symptoms to look out for, that are associated with diabetes someone being really thirsty, weight loss and needing to go to the toilet quite frequently, and also feeling more tired than they usually would. 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.

If you think someone you know is developing diabetes, or you yourself are showing signs, than Diabetes UK advises that a local GP should be contacted and also has a guide on the diabetes treatments available.

Dementia

Dementia occurs when a variety of different brain disorders that trigger the loss of bring function, the condition is often progressive but eventually severe. Around 850,000 people are suffering from dementia in the UK currently, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, but the organisation goes on to state that 225,000 individuals will develop dementia this year alone — that works out at one new case every three minutes.

It’s important to point out that, while there is no current cure for any types of dementia, the number of deaths from the condition would be halved the onset of dementia was delayed by five years.

Dementia affects people in different ways, though the common signs to look out for including someone experiencing 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.

It’s also important to look into the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, as this is the most common cause of dementia that affect 62 per cent of all of those diagnosed with dementia.

The signs to be aware of associated with Alzheimer’s disease include people repetitively asking questions, having problems with their memory – they may regularly forget names, faces or events which have only recently occurred, for example – and becoming more confused when they are in environments that they aren’t familiar with. Other common symptoms include a person encountering increasing difficulty completing tasks or getting involved in activities which require planning or organisation, as well as if they become more anxious or withdrawn.

If you think that someone you know is showing signs related to Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia, you can find dementia information and support services from the NHS.

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