Saturday, February 6, 2016

Warning Signs & Risk Factors - What You Need to Know

Many people don't go to the doctor until it is absolutely necessary. There are many excuses for not going to the doctor - we're too busy, it takes too much time, it costs too much money, or we're not sure we're really sick enough to go. Many men (and maybe some women) are just stubborn, don't like to ask for help, and don't like to admit something may be wrong with us.

As I revealed in my article Dealing With Type II Diabetes, I was diagnosed with type II diabetes last summer. Mostly likely, I had diabetes for years before the complications (especially with my eyes) forced me to go to the doctor. Had I been getting regular checkups, even if only once every couple of years, my diabetes would have been caught much earlier (and I likely wouldn't have had to let an eye surgeon stick needles into my eyes). You are NOT wasting money or time by going to a doctor.

Preppers, and I know a lot of you read this website, should especially take their health seriously enough to take care of any health problems you have sooner, rather than later. You don't want to have to deal with health problems during a SHTF event, and post-collapse medical care may be hard to come by and inferior to what you can get now. 

Warning Signs & Risk Factors of Type II Diabetes*
  • Blurred vision**
  • Frequent headaches**
  • Increased thirst
  • Feeling that your mouth is dry all the time
  • Increased hunger, even after eating
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Frequent urination**
  • Frequent urine infections
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue (feeling tired all the time)**
  • Tingling/numbness in ands or feet
  • A family history of diabetes (a blood relative with diabetes)**
  • Being overweight (not necessarily obese)**
  • A sedentary lifestyle (little exercise or physical activity, a "couch potato")
  • An unhealthy diet (lots of fast food, junk food, sweets, etc.)
*Having any one, or even all, of these warning signs does not mean you have type II diabetes. Please check with your doctor, especially if you have multiple warning signs.

**These are warning signs I had, that I ignored or wrongly dismissed as "just getting older." 

Warning Signs & Risk Factors of Heart & Cardiovascular Disease*
There are many different types of heart and cardiovascular disease, but they may share many similar warning signs and risk factors:
  • Chest pain, discomfort, tightness, or pressure
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • A racing or irregular heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Sudden fatigue or weakness
  • Unexplained nausea or sweating 
  • Swollen legs, feet, or hands
  • Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes 
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • A family history of heart disease (a blood relative with heart disease) 
  • Being overweight, and especially being obese
  • A sedentary lifestyle (little exercise or physical activity, a "couch potato")
  • An unhealthy diet (lots of fast food, junk food, etc.)
  • Age (as a rule of thumb, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop heart or cardiovascular disease)
*Having any one, or several, of these warning signs does not necessarily mean you have heart or cardiovascular disease. It is also possible to have have heart or cardiovascular disease without having any symptoms. Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose heart or cardiovascular disease.

Warning Signs & Risk Factors of Cancer*
There are many types of cancer, many with specific risk factors and early warning signs. Possible warning signs and risk factors may include:
  • Changes in urination or bowel movements 
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Lumps or thickened areas in the breast, testicles, or elsewhere
  • Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
  • Change in the size, color, shape, or thickness of a wart, mole, or mouth sore
  • Cough or hoarseness that doesn't go away
  • Persistent headaches
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained loss of appetite
  • Persistent fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Persistent low-grade fever, either constant or intermittent
  • Sores that don't heal
  • Repeated infections
  • A family history of cancer (a blood relative with cancer)
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Poor dietary habits, including high consumption of sugar
  • Poor sleep habits (consistently failing to get adequate amounts of sleep)
  • Exposure to chemical toxins and other environmental factors
*Having one or more of these warning signs does not necessarily mean you have cancer. Also, cancer may not have any symptoms, especially early on. Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose cancer.

A Final Word

I know from personal experience that ignoring health problems is bad, and self-diagnose is even worse. If you have any of the signs, symptoms, or risk factors mentioned in this article, I urge you to visit your family doctor or other medical professional. If you haven't been to the doctor for years, I strongly urge you to get a medical exam sooner, rather than later.

Information presented in this article was collected from the following websites:

  1. American Diabetes Association
  2. American Cancer Society
  3. American Heart Association
  4. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  5. Mayo Clinic
  6. WebMD