Many people know that serious bleeding, chest pain, and high fever warrant
emergency medical care. But what about other symptoms, such as needing to
urinate more often or straining to use the toilet? Can they be symptoms of a serious
According to research published in the International
Journal of Clinical Practice, men tend to visit their doctor less
frequently than women. They often skip annual checkups, ignore symptoms, or
delay getting medical help when they need it. In some cases, those delays can
be dangerous. Early diagnosis and treatment can often improve your outcomes for
many health conditions.
It’s important to visit your doctor when you suspect something may be wrong.
From unintended weight loss to changes in your bathroom habits, learn about
nine symptoms that may be a sign of something serious. If you experience any of
these symptoms, don’t wait. Make an appointment with your doctor or visit the
emergency department to get the care you need.
Fitness and weight
Shortness of breath
Chest pain isn’t the only telltale sign of a heart attack. The symptoms of a
heart attack vary from one person to another, but there may be early warning
signs that you’re at risk, such as shortness of breath with exertion. For
example, if you have a hard time catching your breath after an easy walk, it
may be an early sign of coronary ischemia. This is a partial or complete
blockage of an artery that carries blood to your heart. A complete blockage can
cause a heart attack.
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you experience chest pain or
shortness of breath. Go to the emergency room if you experience symptoms of a
heart attack, such as:
- pressure in your chest
- tightness in your chest
- extreme shortness of breath
Unintended weight loss
Unless you’re actively trying to slim down, weight loss is often a cause for
concern. Unexplained weight loss is one of the first signs of many diseases,
including cancer. It’s important to see your doctor and let them know if you’ve
recently lost weight unintentionally.
Gastrointestinal (GI) and urinary symptoms
Bloody or black stools
The color of your stool can change from day to day, depending on the foods
you eat and the medicines you take. For example, eating beets can cause your
stool to be alarmingly red. Likewise, iron supplements and some diarrhea medications,
such as bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), may temporarily turn your stool
black or tarry colored.
Anything in the brown or green spectrum is normal. But if your stool is
black, bloody, or pale, it may indicate that you have a problem. In some cases,
this problem may be serious. Black stool may indicate bleeding in the upper GI tract.
Maroon-colored or bloody stool indicate bleeding in the lower GI tract. Your
doctor will probably check for signs of bleeding, hemorrhoids, or ulcers.
Lightly colored stools may signal a problem with your liver or bile ducts.
If you notice unusual changes in the color of your stool, contact your
urination can be a sign of diabetes. Diabetes can cause you to urinate
frequently because your kidneys have to work overtime to eliminate excess sugar
from your bloodstream.
problems can also cause frequent urination. Other symptoms of prostate problems
include decreased flow while you’re urinating, discomfort in the pelvic area,
and blood in your urine or semen. Talk with your doctor if you experience any
of these symptoms. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is common among older
men, but you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms. They can be identical to the
symptoms of other, more serious conditions.
constipation is normal. Most people experience it from time to time, and it often
becomes more common after age 50. However, chronic constipation can be more troubling.
constipation can lead you to push very hard and strain when you’re trying to
have a bowel movement. This raises your chance of developing hemorrhoids, which
can cause bleeding and discomfort around your rectum.
constipation may also be a sign that something is stopping your stool from
exiting properly. A tumor, polyp, or kink in your intestines may be blocking
your colon. You may also have an underlying condition that’s causing abnormal
colon motility. Early diagnosis of colon problems is important because of the risks
of colon cancer.
than concerns regarding sexual performance, erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a
sign of a more serious problem, such as cardiovascular disease. ED may also
occur due to increased stress or depression, which your doctor can treat using
therapy and medicine.
a condition that doctors treat often. The sooner you address the problem, the
sooner you can find a solution.
experience occasional heartburn after eating a greasy burger or a lot of pasta.
But if you get heartburn after every meal, you may have gastroesophageal reflux
This condition is also commonly known as acid reflux. If you have acid reflux, stomach
acid flows backward, up your esophagus. If you don’t get treatment for it, this
stomach acid can erode the tissues of your esophagus and cause irritation or
ulcers. In rare cases, chronic GERD can lead to cancer of the esophagus.
of GERD can also mimic other rare but treatable problems of the esophagus,
including sphincter dysfunction. In some cases, you may think you have
heartburn when you’re experiencing heart problems.
your doctor if you’ve had a long-standing issue with heartburn.
loud snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition,
the muscles in your throat relax and temporarily block your airway while you’re
sleeping. This can cause breathing problems and disrupt your sleep patterns.
These constant interruptions interrupt your sleep cycles and may leave you
feeling sleepy or fatigued even after getting adequate hours of sleep.
sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can sometimes contribute to cardiovascular disease.
Sleep apnea is a serious lung disease that can lead to heart failure or
abnormal heart rhythms.
some cases, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are linked to obesity and type
may think breast cancer is a disease that only affects women, but that’s not true.
About 2,600 American men are diagnosed with breast cancer per year, reports the
American Cancer Society. Most of them are older men,
between 60 and 70 years old.
your doctor if you feel a lump or thickening of the tissue in your breast, or
if your nipple darkens, turns red, or begins to have discharge. Early diagnosis
and treatment are just as important for men with breast cancer as they are for
women with the disease.
Make an appointment
control of your health by making an appointment with your doctor if you notice
any of these symptoms. They may be a natural sign of aging or a condition
that’s easy to treat, but it’s important to rule out other more serious causes.
In some cases, these symptoms may indicate that you have a serious medical
condition that needs care. Recognizing and treating a problem early can often
improve your chances of making a full recovery.