Most of us have some idea of the symptoms that may be indicative of a major medical problem. There are lots of web sites you can go to if you're concerned that you may be suffering from a particular illness. But did you know that as we get older, some of the more common symptoms we associate with an illness may not be quite the same as when we were younger? It's true. And the danger is in failing to recognize that those symptoms/problems can be life-threatening if you don't know what they are. In fact, here are four conditions where the change-in-symptoms problem is common after about age 65, and what you should look for.
In the case of a heart attack, most people become alarmed when they experience chest pain.
In the case of a heart attack, most people become alarmed when they experience chest pain. Not necessarily the case after you turn 65. At that age or above, more common symptoms of a heart attack may include difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, sweating and fatigue.
The symptoms of a urinary-tract infection may change as you get older, too. In a person of lesser years, the most common symptom may be frequent or painful urination. But older adults may experience dizziness, confusion and fatigue.
Lots of people worry about an overactive thyroid, a problem I read about in lots of the E-mails I receive. For younger people symptoms may include agitation, heart palpitations and nervousness. But older adults may instead experience weight-loss, sleepiness, depression and/or confusion.
Depression can strike at any age, even in children.
Speaking of depression, it can strike at any age, even in children. The things we think of most often when it comes to depression include feeling sad and crying easily about the "smallest" of emotional problems. But if you're getting on up in the years, depression may present itself in the form of confusion, forgetfulness or loss of interest in your usual activities.
The good news is that all of these issues can be successfully treated. But before that can happen, you need to find out if you really have one of these medical problems or not. For older Americans, these fairly common problems may show up in a number of symptoms you may not have been aware of. Use this list for the ailments I've talked about and for sure, talk to your doctor immediately if you suspect any of them may be a problem for you.