Men and women have different bodies and hence they have different health issues. But doctors sometimes don’t consider the health differences between the sexes. That might lead to a wrong diagnosis. Some medical conditions that often go unnoticed in women are:
1. Heart Disease- Some common symptoms of cardiovascular disease are Nausea, shortness of breath and sharp chest pain. But sometimes in women, these symptoms are mistaken for anxiety or heartburn.
This happens because of some physician’s belief that women under 55 years of age rarely have heart attacks. So, even when a woman shows these symptoms, physicians misdiagnose them.
To prevent misdiagnosis, if you as a woman, experience any of the symptoms mentioned above (Nausea, shortness of breath and sharp chest pain) or irregular heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, fatigue and nausea – you should ask your doctor about a nuclear stress test or echocardiogram.
To be aware of the risks for heart diseases, women should take the following steps:
• Try to find out if either your parents or grandparents suffered from heart disease.
• If high blood pressure is a problem in your family, you should also monitor your blood pressure regularly.
• Make sure to get your cholesterol measured annually. If it is high, measure it more often.
• Quit smoking.
• Exercise at least 30-40 minutes four times a week. You should not be obese.
• If you have diabetes, eat a balanced diet which is low in sugar, take the instructed insulin dose and engage in daily exercise.
2. Thyroid- This is the most undiagnosed and misdiagnosed disease ever for women. This condition occurs when the thyroid gland regulates the pace of the body’s metabolism through the production of hormones. Hypothyroidism (associated with a slow metabolism) occurs when the thyroid fails to produce hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4).
Symptoms for this condition are non-specified and they show up gradually. It is typically genetic.
To prevent misdiagnosis:
• Make sure you know about all the risk factors like a family history of thyroid disorders and having radiation or neck surgery.
• You can even keep a check on thyroid. Drink a glass of water in front of a mirror. If you see a lump on the thyroid, contact your physician for further diagnosis.
• Keep a journal to track your progress and note any changes in health you experience.
• Maintain follow-up appointments and an ongoing dialogue with your physician about how you are feeling.
3. Fibromyalgia- Often called an “invisible” illness or disability, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition marked by widespread pain, intense fatigue, heightened sensitivity and needle-like tingling of the skin, muscle aches and spasms, weakness in the limbs and nerve pain. People, who suffer from this, may also have problems sleeping and deficits in short-term memory.
No one knows what causes this, although experts have a belief that stress or genetics play a role. If there is increased stress, a lot of physical exercise, lack of deep sleep, changes in humidity and barometric pressure, pain may increase a lot.
Symptoms from fibromyalgia vary from person to person and there is no blood test that confirms this illness, it gets difficult to diagnose it.
To prevent misdiagnosis, be persistent with your doctor, ask him questions about your symptoms, request blood tests to rule out other diseases and seek a second opinion, if necessary. You can ask following questions to your doctor, if you have some doubts about having Fibromyalgia:
• Have you checked for fibromyalgia?
• What can I do to ease my symptoms?
• What medications can I take?
• What drugs, foods or activities should I avoid?
• What alternative therapies or stress management techniques might help me?
• Do you recommend counseling?
• How do I explain my condition to others?
• Are there any clinical trials in which I can participate?
written by Emma Alexandra, Friday, 02:15 PM, August 12, 2011