There are various illnesses and conditions which can negatively impact our health, but many have symptoms that even small changes can help to manage or even stop the illness from causing too much damage to our wellbeing in the long-term. In this guide, stairlift manufacturer, Acorn Stairlifts, advises on the symptoms to look out for when it comes to six common types of conditions…
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. During 2015, 6.9 per cent of Canadians aged 12 years old and above — around 2.1 million people — were reported as being diagnosed with diabetes, with older members of society susceptible to developing the condition as their bodies change when they grow and age.
It’s very important to be diagnosed early to be treaded to gain effective control over the condition and maintain good health These steps will also reduce the risk of the body developing serious complications.
Symptoms include, unexpectant weight loss, excess tiredness and frequent thirsts and toilet requirements, especially during the night. 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 someone you know is displaying symptoms associated with diabetes, then check out Diabetes Canada’s treatments and medications guide on how to manage this condition.
Dementia is the condition of several brain disorders which results in a decline of brain function. The conditions are often progressive but eventually severe. According to Alzheimer Society Canada, there are at least half a million people across Canada who are currently living with dementia.
Currently, there’s no cure for any form of dementia. However, the number of deaths from the condition would be halved if the onset of dementia was delayed by five years.
Dementia impacts people in different ways. The common early symptoms to watch out for though include someone suffering from 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.
Keep an eye out for symptoms specifically related to Alzheimer’s disease as well, due to this being the most common type of dementia. Symptoms related specifically to Alzheimer’s disease include individuals becoming confused when in environments they aren’t familiar with, having problems with their memory — they may regularly forget names, faces or events which have only recently occurred, for example — and repetitively asking questions. Other common symptoms include a person encountering increasing difficulty completing tasks or getting involved in activities which require planning or organization, as well as if they become more anxious or withdrawn.
If anyone you know displaying signs and symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, there’s plenty of support available from Alzheimer Society Canada about what to do next.
Not including non-melanoma skin cancers, the Canadian Cancer Society has reported prostate cancer as being the most common cancer among men in Canada. Around 21,300 men were diagnosed with the disease during 2017, the organisation also stated.
But instant treatment may not be the action that is taken for 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.
Because of the way that prostate cancer grows, many men will be unable to detect any of the signs or symptoms of the disease in its early stages.
Initial symptoms will often be seen if prostate cancer grows close to the urethra, which is the tube in a man’s body that he urinates through. This is because the cancerous growth may press against the urethra and change the way that someone urinates. 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 the sudden urge to urinate or urinating more often — especially during the night.
More likely though, alterations in the way a man urinates will be associated with the non-cancerous issue of an enlarged prostate, or a different health problem altogether. No matter what though, it’s wise to see a doctor if any of the above changes are detected.
However, usually prostate cancer will originate in a part of the prostate that is away from the urethra. 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.
Should you have concerns that you have prostate cancer or develop other problems with your prostate gland, check out Prostate Cancer Canada’s guide on testing and diagnosing the disease.
Osteoporosis sees the bones weakening and is a condition that will develop gradually over time. Around two million Canadians are affected by osteoporosis, according to Osteoporosis Canada, and over 80 per cent of all fractures in people aged 50 and over are caused by the condition.
There are three key signs to watch out for when it comes to osteoporosis:
- Multiple osteoporotic fractures in the spine can cause the back to lose its normal curvature — the result being a stooped back and a loss of height, as the vertebral bones in the spin begin to weaken and collapse.
- Sudden or intense back pain being suffered without warning or from doing something small, such as bending over to tie a shoelace.
- 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.
Have you got concerns that someone close to you is suffering from osteoporosis? Be sure to check out this guide on treatment options put together by Osteoporosis Canada.
The Canadian Cancer Society has found breast cancer to be the most common form of cancer among Canadian women, other than non-melanoma skin cancers. During 2017, an estimated 26,300 women across the country were diagnosed with breast cancer. While it is most common in women, it’s not uncommon for men to be diagnosed with breast cancer, too.
Detect breast cancer at an early stage though, and treatment may be available before it is able to spread to other parts of the body. Surgery is often the first type of treatment for the disease, followed by radiotherapy, chemotherapy or, in some instances, either biological or hormone treatments.
A lump or section of thickened breast tissue which develops around one of the breasts is usually one of the first noticeable signs of breast cancer. 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.
There are other symptoms associated with breast cancer. These include:
- Pain around the breasts.
- One or both breasts changing in their shape or size.
- Dimpling on the skin of the breasts.
- Discharge from either nipple (which might be streaked with blood).
- A rash on or around the nipple.
- The appearance of the nipple changing — perhaps becoming sunken into the breast.
As well as these, a lump or swelling in one of the armpits can be another potential sign of breast cancer.
Are you worried about breast cancer? Check out the Canadian Cancer Society’s guide on getting screened for breast cancer for a raft of helpful advice.
Arthritis is caused when there is a breakdown of the tissue located inside the joints. The result of this is inflammation, pain and restricted movement of the area of the body concerned — as well as the apparent weakness within the joints affected. According to UCB Canada, more than 4.6 million Canadian adults are reported to have arthritis; one in six Canadians aged 15 years and older.
There is no cure to arthritis. However, various treatments are now available which can help to slow down the condition.
Concerned that someone you know is starting to suffer from arthritis? Signs to watch out for include feeling unusually fatigued and 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 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.
If you feel as though someone close to you is suffering from arthritis, the Arthritis Society has information and support available for managing the pain and how to live with the condition.
Many more conditions could have been investigated throughout this guide. However, hopefully the advice provided will help to keep loved ones healthy and highlight how spotting signs and symptoms early can prove very beneficial.