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About Monique Beckford
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Widespread use of screening mammograms has increased the number of breast cancers found before they cause any symptoms. Still, some breast cancers are not found by mammogram, either because the test was not done or because, even under ideal conditions, mammograms do not find every breast cancer.
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. They can even be painful. For this reason, it is important to have any new breast mass or lump or breast change checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.
Other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
Sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt. Swollen lymph nodes should also be reported to your doctor.
Although any of these symptoms can be caused by things other than breast cancer, if you have them, they should be reported to your doctor so that he or she can find the cause.
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Individuals can experience different signs and symptoms of diabetes, and sometimes there may be no signs. Some of the signs commonly experienced include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
- Lack of interest and concentration
- A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections
- Slow-healing wounds
- Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu)
The development of type 1 diabetes is usually sudden and dramatic while the symptoms can often be mild or absent in people with type 2 diabetes, making this type of diabetes hard to detect
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A common symptom of CHD is angina. Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood.
In men, angina often feels like pressure or squeezing in the chest. This feeling may extend to the arms. Women can also have these angina symptoms. But women also tend to describe a sharp, burning chest pain. Women are more likely to have pain in the neck, jaw, throat, abdomen, or back.
In men, angina tends to worsen with physical activity and go away with rest. Women are more likely than men to have angina while they’re resting or sleeping.
In women who have coronary micro-vascular disease, angina often occurs during routine daily activities, such as shopping or cooking, rather than while exercising. Mental stress also is more likely to trigger angina pain in women than in men.
The severity of angina varies. The pain may get worse or occur more often as the buildup of plaque continues to narrow the coronary (heart) arteries.
Signs and Symptoms Coronary Heart Disease Complications
The most common heart attack symptom in men and women is chest pain or discomfort. However, only half of women who have heart attacks have chest pain.
Women are more likely than men to report back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea (feeling sick to the stomach), vomiting, extreme fatigue (tiredness), or problems breathing.
Heart attacks also can cause upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach. Other heart attack symptoms are light-headedness and dizziness, which occur more often in women than men.
Men are more likely than women to break out in a cold sweat and to report pain in the left arm during a heart attack.
Heart failure is a condition in which your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. Heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart can’t cope with the demands of everyday activities.
Heart failure causes shortness of breath and fatigue that tends to increase with physical exertion. Heart failure also can cause swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, and veins in the neck.
An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.
Some people describe arrhythmias as fluttering or thumping feelings or skipped beats in their chests. These feelings are called palpitations.
Some arrhythmias can cause your heart to suddenly stop beating. This condition is called sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA causes loss of consciousness and death if it’s not treated right away.
Signs and Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome
The most common signs and symptoms of broken heart syndrome are chest pain and shortness of breath. In this disorder, these symptoms tend to occur suddenly in people who have no history of heart disease.
Arrhythmias or cardiogenic shock also may occur. Cardiogenic shock is a condition in which a suddenly weakened heart isn’t able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
Some of the signs and symptoms of broken heart syndrome differ from those of heart attack. For example, in people who have broken heart syndrome:
- Symptoms occur suddenly after having extreme emotional or physical stress.
- EKG (electrocardiogram) results don’t look the same as the EKG results for a person having a heart attack. (An EKG is a test that records the heart’s electrical activity.)
- Blood tests show no signs or mild signs of heart damage.
- Tests show no signs of blockages in the coronary arteries.
- Tests show ballooning and unusual movement of the lower left heart chamber (left ventricle).
- Recovery time is quick, usually within days or weeks (compared with the recovery time of a month or more for a heart attack).
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WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HIV?
The symptoms of HIV vary, depending on the individual and what stage of the disease you are in.
EARLY STAGE OF HIV: SYMPTOMS
Within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection, many, but not all, people experience flu-like symptoms, often described as the “worst flu ever.” This is called “acute retroviral syndrome” (ARS) or “primary HIV infection,” and it’s the body’s natural response to the HIV infection.
Symptoms can include:
- Fever (this is the most common symptom)
- Swollen glands
- Sore throat
- Muscle and joint aches and pains
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. However, you should not assume you have HIV if you have any of these symptoms. Each of these symptoms can be caused by other illnesses. Conversely, not everyone who is infected with HIV develops ARS. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for 10 years or more.
You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether you have HIV. The only way to know for sure if you are infected with HIV is to get tested. If you think you have recently been exposed to HIV—if you have had oral, vaginal or anal sex without a condom with a known HIV positive person or a partner whose HIV status you do not know or shared needles to inject drugs—get an HIV test. Traditional HIV tests detect HIV antibodies. But during this early stage your body is not yet producing these antibodies. A new HIV test was approved in 2013 that can detect the presence of HIV in your body during this early stage of infection. So no matter where you get tested, it is very important to let your provider know that you may have been recently infected with HIV and you would like to be tested for acute HIV. Use the HIV/AIDS Testing and Services Locator to find a HIV testing site near you or enter your location here:
THE CLINICAL LATENCY STAGE
After the early stage of HIV infection, the disease moves into a stage called the “clinical latency” stage. “Latency” means a period where a virus is living or developing in a person without producing symptoms. During the clinical latency stage, people who are infected with HIV experience no HIV-related symptoms, or only mild ones. (This stage is sometimes called “asymptomatic HIV infection” or “chronic HIV infection.”)
During the clinical latency stage, the HIV virus reproduces at very low levels, although it is still active. If you takeantiretroviral therapy (ART), you may live with clinical latency for several decades because treatment helps keep the virus in check. (Read more about HIV treatment.) For people who are not on ART, this clinical latency stage lasts an average of 10 years, but some people may progress through this phase faster.
It is important to remember that people in this symptom-free period are still able to transmit HIV to others even if they are on ART, although ART greatly reduces the risk of transmission.
Again, the only way to know for sure if you are infected with HIV is to get tested. Tests are available that can detect the virus at this stage. Use the HIV/AIDS Testing and Services Locator to find a HIV testing site near you.
PROGRESSION TO AIDS: SYMPTOMS
If you have HIV and you are not taking HIV medication (antiretroviral therapy), eventually the HIV virus will weaken your body’s immune system. The onset of symptoms signals the transition from the clinical latency stage to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
During this late stage of HIV infection, people infected with HIV may have the following symptoms:
- Rapid weight loss
- Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
- Extreme and unexplained tiredness
- Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
- Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
- Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
- Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
- Memory loss, depression, and other neurologic disorders.
Each of these symptoms can be related to other illnesses. So, as noted above, the only way to know for sure if you are infected with HIV is to get tested.
Many of the severe symptoms and illnesses of HIV disease come from the opportunistic infections that occur because your body’s immune system has been damaged. (Read more about opportunistic illnesses.)
For more information, see the National Library of Medicine’s AIDS.
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Although your body may harbor the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. For this reason, doctors make a distinction between:
- Latent TB. In this condition, you have a TB infection, but the bacteria remain in your body in an inactive state and cause no symptoms. Latent TB, also called inactive TB or TB infection, isn’t contagious. It can turn into active TB, so treatment is important for the person with latent TB and to help control the spread of TB in general. An estimated 2 billion people have latent TB.
- Active TB. This condition makes you sick and can spread to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later.
Signs and symptoms of active TB include:
- Coughing that lasts three or more weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain, or pain with breathing or coughing
- Unintentional weight loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of appetite
Tuberculosis can also affect other parts of your body, including your kidneys, spine or brain. When TB occurs outside your lungs, signs and symptoms vary according to the organs involved. For example, tuberculosis of the spine may give you back pain, and tuberculosis in your kidneys might cause blood in your urine.
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Most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread too far to be cured, but symptoms do occur in some people with early lung cancer. If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed at an earlier stage, when treatment is more likely to be effective. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:
- A cough that does not go away or gets worse
- Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
- Weight loss and loss of appetite
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm)
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or weak
- Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back
- New onset of wheezing
If lung cancer spreads to distant organs, it may cause:
- Bone pain (like pain in the back or hips)
- Nervous system changes (such as headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures), from cancer spread to the brain or spinal cord
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), from cancer spread to the liver
- Lumps near the surface of the body, due to cancer spreading to the skin or to lymph nodes (collections of immune system cells), such as those in the neck or above the collarbone
Most of the symptoms listed above are more likely to be caused by conditions other than lung cancer.
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