10 symptoms men often ignore but shouldn't

April 28, 2016 | by Alexander Hantel, M.D.

Yearly physicals and regular checkups are often not on a man’s do-to list, but consistent back pain, suspicious lumps, chronic headaches and disruptions in your bathroom routine are all early signs that something is wrong with your body.

Don’t ignore the symptoms outlined below. Make your health a top priority and see your doctor if you experience any of these:

  1. Difficulty swallowing. If you have a feeling of food stuck in your throat, it is time to see a doctor. Throat cancer is often caused by smoking and drinking. Causes for concern are a persistent sore throat, hoarseness that doesn’t improve within two weeks, difficulty swallowing food or excess saliva, weight loss, trouble breathing and coughing up blood.
  2. Chest pain is one of the most common symptoms men ignore because men often believe chest pain is due to indigestion, stress or lack of physical activity. Don’t make excuses for yourself if you have chest pain. The American Heart Association says in addition to a heart attack, chest pain could be due to a condition like angina, which is an early sign of heart disease, pneumonia or asthma.
  3. Bleeding. Unexpected bleeding of any kind is a red flag. Coughing up blood or having blood in your urine and stool can be a symptom of lung or colon cancer.
  4. Fatigue. Are you still tired no matter how many hours of sleep you get a night? If fatigue is affecting your daily life and you have constant shortness of breath, see a doctor.
  5. Dizziness occurs when you do not have enough blood flowing to your brain. If you are often feeling lightheaded and unsteady on your feet, a trip to the ER is a must. Dizziness can be a symptom of serious health problem like heart disease or stroke.
  6. Memory loss that disrupts your daily activities can be a result of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association says warning signs for the disease are the inability to complete familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, changes in mood or misunderstanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  7. Sores in your pain or mouth. Smoking and chewing tobacco can put you at increased risk of oral cancer. If you notice sores that don’t heal in your mouth or any swelling or numbness of the jaw, it could be a sign of some mouth cancers.
  8. Headaches that do not go away should be a signal for you to seek medical treatment. Persistent pain is a sign that something is wrong.
  9. Unexplained weight loss. If you aren’t trying to lose weight, or if you are losing weight for no reason, there may be a problem with your body. Even if you have weight to lose, excessive and unexplained weight loss can be signs of pancreatic, stomach, esophageal or lung cancer.
  10. Changes in testicles. The most common symptom of testicular cancer is swelling on your testicles. Signs of testicular cancer can also include lumps and changes in consistency. The American Cancer Society recommends men get a testicular exam by a doctor as part of their routine cancer screening checkup.

How do you remind yourself to schedule an appointments with your doctor? Tell us in the below comments.

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Learn more about cancer care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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