The need to urinate more at this time of the day may signal prostate cancer

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Prostate cancer is the result of cancerous cells dividing uncontrollably in the prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland in men. It usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs for many years. Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis (urethra), explains the NHS.

When this happens, you may notice a number of changes to your urinary habits.

One telltale sign of advanced prostate cancer is the need to urinate more often, especially at night, according to the American Cancer society (ACS).

Other symptoms include:

  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED)
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord.

According to the ACS, most of these problems are more likely to be caused by something other than prostate cancer.

“For example, trouble urinating is much more often caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a non-cancerous growth of the prostate,” says the health body.

Still, it’s important to flag up any unusual changes with your doctor to rule out prostate cancer, it adds.

How is prostate cancer treated?

Treatment for prostate cancer will depend on your individual circumstances, such as the stage of the cancer.

“When treatment is necessary, the aim is to cure or control the disease so it affects everyday life as little as possible and does not shorten life expectancy,” explains the NHS.

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Sometimes, if the cancer has already spread, the aim is not to cure it but to prolong life and delay symptoms, notes the health body.

Am I at risk?

It’s not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition.

Age, ethnicity, genetics and lifestyle factors can all contribute to your risk of prostate cancer.

According to Cancer Research UK, prostate cancer is most prevalent in men aged 75 to 79 years.

Some inherited genes can also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.

“These inherited genes are rare and account for only a small number of prostate cancers,” explains Cancer Research UK.

Evidence also suggests being overweight or obese increases your risk of advanced prostate cancer.

Obese means being very overweight with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, and being overweight means having a BMI of between 25 and 30.

Researchers have found a link between being obese or overweight and cancers being higher grade (faster growing).

According to the NHS, research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer, and there is some evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

What is most important is to focus on your overall dietary approach rather than singling out specific items.

As Cancer Research UK points out, having a healthy and balanced diet can reduce the risk of cancer by helping you keep a healthy weight or lose weight.

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Heart attack symptoms – the warning sign on your skin to watch out for

Heart attacks happen when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. Without enough blood and oxygen your heart can be seriously damaged. A buildup of fatty plaques called cholesterol is usually responsible for the blockage.

It is imperative to act on the warning signs of a heart attack as soon as they show up.

A quick response can minimise the damage inflicted on the heart muscle, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Unfortunately, a dearth of knowledge regarding the symptoms associated with heart attacks often result in critical delays.

Most people are aware of the chest pain that can be experienced when having a heart attack.

There are a range of symptoms that can spring up independent of chest pain, however.

Suddenly breaking into a sweat with cold, clammy skin may signal you are having a heart attack, according to Mayo Clinic.

Other lesser-known signs include:

  • Stomach pain. Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn.
  • Shortness of breath. You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort, or you may not experience any chest discomfort.
  • Anxiety. You may feel a sense of doom or feel as if you’re having a panic attack for no apparent reason.
  • Lightheadedness. In addition to feeling chest pressure, you may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out.
  • Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  • Heart palpitations. You may feel as if your heart is skipping beats, or you may just be very aware that your heart is beating.

Although chest pain is a widely recognised symptom, many people may not know the specifics involved.

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As the BHF explains, chest pain may feel like pressure, squeezing or heaviness in your chest.

It may spread to your left or right arm or may spread to your neck, jaw, back or stomach, notes the health body.

Pain levels can also vary from person to person.

“For some people the pain or tightness in their chest is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable, or pain similar to indigestion,” explains the BHF.

How to respond

“If you suspect the symptoms of a heart attack, call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance,” advises the NHS.

Do not worry if you have doubts – paramedics would rather be called out to find an honest mistake has been made than be too late to save a person’s life, says the health body.

“If you have had a heart attack, it’s important that you rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart,” it adds.

How to prevent a heart attack

Prevention is always more important than reaction and making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack.

A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have against a heart attack.

The food you eat and the amount can either raise or reduce your risk of the many precursors to having a heart attack, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

“Choose nutrient-rich foods — which have vitamins, minerals, fibre and other nutrients but are lower in calories — over nutrient-poor foods,” advised the American Heart Association (AHA).

“Choose a diet that emphasises intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; includes low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, nontropical vegetable oils, and nuts; and limits intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats,” it adds.

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During Stress of Pandemic, Know Suicide’s Warning Signs

TUESDAY, Sept. 29, 2020 — Financial struggles, social isolation and anxiety are triggering feelings of hopelessness and helplessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s important to know the warning signs when someone is contemplating suicide, an expert says.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released earlier this year showed a 25% rise in U.S. suicide rates over the past two decades, and suicide was already among the leading causes of death in the United States before the pandemic.

“It is extremely important for people to be aware of warning signs that indicate a friend or loved one may be at risk for suicide,” said Nadine Chang, a clinical psychologist at Gracie Square Hospital in New York City.

“The key to suicide prevention is early identification of these warning signs. In the current environment, it is more important than ever that we check on loved ones. The clues are sometimes subtle, but being aware of warning signs can mean the difference between life and death,” she said in a hospital news release.

Suicide warning signs include: changes in behavior; depression; lack of motivation; extreme reactions to challenges; making arrangements such as giving away possessions, getting financial affairs in order, writing a will; talking about suicide, and hoarding medications.

“Take these signs seriously,” Chang said. “If you notice someone is in trouble, reach out and establish a connection. In cases of imminent danger, don’t be afraid to call 911.

“Despite increases in research and funding for suicide prevention, we are still seeing suicide rates climb. Today people are experiencing job loss, financial stress, natural disasters and illness, any one of which can lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, the two strongest correlates for suicide,” Chang added.

If you’re having thoughts of suicide, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Other resources available 24/7 include The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

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Bowel cancer: The two major changes in your stools indicating the deadly disease

Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK, with more than 40,000 people being diagnosed with it each year. Most people diagnosed with it are over the age of 60. As there’s currently no cure for cancer, spotting symptoms as early as possible allows for the best chance of survival.

Narrow stools

The main symptoms of bowel cancer are linked to the bowel and a person’s bowel habits, and one to note is narrow stools, according to Mayo Clinic.

It explains: “Narrow stools that occur infrequently probably are harmless.

“However, in some cases, narrow stools – especially if pencil thin – may be a sign of narrowing or obstruction of the colon due to colon cancer.”

Other conditions narrow stools may be linked to are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Bloody stools

Blood in stools or faeces can be a sign of bowel cancer, said Cancer Research UK.

The site added: “But it is often due to other causes.

“See your GP if you are worried about any symptoms that you think could be caused by cancer in the bowel.

“Most often, bloody stools are from piles (haemorrhoids), especially if it is bright red, fresh blood.

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“If you have any symptoms, don’t be embarrassed and don’t ignore them. Doctors are used to seeing lots of people with bowel problems,” said Bowel Cancer UK.

“Tell your GP if you have noticed any persistent and unexplained changes in your bowel habit, especially if you also have bleeding from your back passage.

“You may have looser poo and you may need to poo more often than normal.

“Or you may feel as though you’re not going to the toilet often enough or you might not feel as though you’re not fully emptying your bowels.”

You should see your GP if your change in bowel habit persists for more than four weeks.

But just because you notice a subtle change to your bowel habit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bowel cancer.

The doctor will assess whether you may be at risk of the disease by asking about your symptoms, and whether you have a family history of bowel cancer.

Your GP could subsequently refer you to a specialist for further investigation.

According to Mayo Clinic, treatment for bowel cancer usually involves surgery to remove the cancer.

Other treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, might also be recommended.

Your risk of developing bowel (colon and rectal) cancer depends on many things including age, genetics and lifestyle factors.

Many studies have shown that eating lots of red and processed meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.

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High cholesterol symptoms: The sexual sign your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels could be too high

High cholesterol levels can be troublesome as it means there is too much ‘bad’ cholesterol floating in the blood and this could pose serious health complications. Knowing the warning signs and correcting one’s diet are some ways to reduce your risk and if you suffer with erectile dysfunction it could be due to high levels of cholesterol.

Shamir Patel, founder of Chemist 4 U said: “A symptom of high cholesterol can be erectile dysfunction, caused by the lack of blood flow.

“Another symptom may be yellowy growths under the skin of their eyelids – called xanthelasma.

“This is fatty material containing lipids, or fats, including cholesterol, and usually appear symmetrically between your eyes and nose.

“However, each of these symptoms can be other health conditions, which is why it’s so important to test your cholesterol on a regular basis.

“Call your GP if you are concerned, who can discuss your concerns.

“There are also home testing kits if you would prefer.” 

Too much bad cholesterol (also known as LDL) in the bloodstream creates arterial plaque that damages and blocks blood flow, said Boston Medical Group.

It added: “These blockages will result in inadequate circulation of blood throughout the system including the penis and genital area.

“As a result, erection problems occur. 

“The side effects of high cholesterol in men can lead to erectile dysfunction.

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“The higher your LDL levels the more likely to develop erection problems and severe cases lead to impotence.

“Also, high cholesterol can make the body more difficult to produce the necessary chemicals to create an erection. 

“High cholesterol affects the body’s ability to properly release nitric oxide into the bloodstream.

“This prevents the proper relaxation of penile tissues to cause erectile engorgement.

High cholesterol and erectile dysfunction could be an underlying cause of another health problem.

However, these problems are reversible.

High cholesterol affects testosterone production.

Testosterone is a hormone responsible for the secondary sex characteristics of men. 

High cholesterol limits blood flow to the testicles and as a result, may damage their ability to produce testosterone.

Patel added: “People with high cholesterol often don’t realise that they have it, as there are no glaringly obvious symptoms.

“However, it can be a serious health condition, because it can block your blood vessels and put you at risk of heart problems and strokes.

“Therefore, it’s important to understand and recognise the warning signs that your cholesterol may be too high.

“Firstly, consider the main risk factors: do you do little exercise, smoke, eat fatty food and drink alcohol?

“Does your family have a history of high cholesterol? If you tick a number of these factors, it puts you in the risk category, and you should keep an eye on yourself.”

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Dementia symptoms: The ‘inappropriate’ sign you have it

Dementia is an umbrella term for a cluster of symptoms associated with an ongoing brain decline. There are over 200 subtypes of dementia, but the five most common are: Alzheimer’s disease; vascular dementia; dementia with Lewy bodies; frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and mixed dementia. Identifying the specific type of dementia one has can be tricky because there are many overlapping symptoms. Memory loss spans across the subtypes, for example.

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The key difference is that some forms of brain decline do not initially affect the region of the brain responsible for memory.

This means that memory loss appears further into the form of certain forms of dementia.

One example of this is frontotemporal dementia, which primarily affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

As Mayo Clinic explains, these areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behaviour and language.

According to the health body, the most common signs of frontotemporal dementia involve extreme changes in behaviour and personality but rarer forms are characterised by problems with movement.

One movement-related sign is inappropriate laughter.

Other movement-related problems include:

  • Tremor
  • Rigidity
  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle weakness

Can it be treated?

Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia or any treatment that will slow it down.

There are interventions you can make to reduce your risk of developing it, however.

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Frontotemporal dementia has one known risk factor: genetics.

Research published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association suggests exercise can reduce the risk, even in those that carry the genetic mutation.

The study involved 105 people who carry the genetic mutation that causes FTD.

All were either asymptomatic or had mild, early-stage symptoms. Also included were 69 people who did not carry the genetic mutation.

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Participants took a series of cognitive and memory tests. They were questioned about current levels of mental and physical activity. That included such things as socialising, reading, and walking.

MRIs of the brain were used to assess the degree of brain degeneration.

Follow-up MRI scans one year into the study showed that lifestyle did not have a significant impact on brain degeneration due to frontotemporal dementia.

However, those who were most mentally and physically active did twice as well on cognitive tests than those who were least active.

Genetic mutation carriers who had more active lifestyles were found to have more than 55 percent slower decline per year.

Dr. Rawan Tarawneh, a cognitive neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, was encouraged by the findings.

“It’s fascinating because we’ve seen the role of physical activity in maintaining brain health in Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. There hasn’t been another study of this size and meticulous analysis in FTD,” Tarawneh told Healthline.

She added: “It was well-designed, had a well-characterized cohort, and strong data. It covers a major gap in the field right now.

“It’s timely with our focus on physical health and mindfulness and mental exercise, particularly for people who have mutations that increase risk for conditions like FTD.”

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Bowel cancer: The two gastrointestinal issues signalling small bowel cancer

Bowel cancer is a general term for any cancer which develops in the bowel. The disease is sometimes referred to as colorectal or colon cancer. The early warning signs of bowel differ slightly when it comes to small bowel cancer and experiencing any of these gastrointestinal issues could be a sign.

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Bowel cancer is cancer in any part of the large bowel.

It is sometimes known as colorectal cancer and might also be called colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where it starts.

Cancer of the small bowel is very rare; it is called small bowel cancer or small intestine cancer.

What is small bowel cancer?

The National Cancer Institute said: “Small intestine cancer is a rare disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the small intestine.

“The small intestine is part of the body’s digestive system, which also includes the oesophagus, stomach and large intestine.

“The digestive system removes and processes nutrients from foods and helps pass waste material out of the body.

“The small intestine is a long tube that connects the stomach to the large intestine and folds many times to fit inside the abdomen.

“The types of cancer found in the small intestine are adenocarcinoma, sarcoma, carcinoid tumours, gastrointestinal stromal tumour and lymphoma.”

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People with small bowel cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs said Cancer.Net.

The health site continued: “Sometimes, people with small bowel cancer do not have any of these changes.

“Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not cancer.”

 Signs of small bowel cancer include: 

·        Blood in the stool (faeces)

·        Dark/black stools

·        Diarrhoea

·        A lump in the abdomen

·        Pain or cramps in the abdomen

·        Unexplained weight loss

·        Episodes of abdominal pain that may be accompanied by severe nausea or vomiting.

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Cancer.Net added: “If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor.

“Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom, in addition to other questions.

“This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

“If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment.

“This may be called palliative care or supportive care.

“Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

Surgery is usually the main treatment for bowel cancer, and may be combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or biological treatments, depending on your particular case.

If it’s detected early enough, treatment can cure bowel cancer and stop it from coming back.

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or nausea, it’s important to speak to your GP about the possible cause.

Nausea and vomiting could be caused by a variety of different ailments other than small bowel cancer.

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Heart attack: Noticing this sign on ankles after taking off your socks is an early warning

Heart attacks are serious medical emergencies which require immediate attention from medical experts. A lesser-known warning sign of the condition is noticing your skin looking like this after taking off your socks.

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Heart attacks are caused by a lack of blood reaching the heart.

Without enough blood, the heart can become damaged and it could lead to death.

A heart attack could also be a symptom of coronary heart disease, which is where fatty deposits build up in the arteries and limits the amount of blood reaching the heart.

An unusual warning sign of the condition is spotting sock marks after taking off your socks.

Many people associate heart attacks with obvious symptoms including chest pain.

However, there are some lesser-known warning signs which include bleeding gums or swollen feet.

When a person has swollen feet and ankles, they will often notice an indentation on their skin after they take off their socks.

Dr Carl Orringer, associate professor of medicine and director of the Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said: “Signs like ankles swelling or weight gain do not necessarily mean you have heart disease, but taken together with other symptoms of heart disease, laboratory studies, and family history, they are an important part of making a diagnosis of heart disease or heart failure.”

Retention of fluid in the feet and legs is known as peripheral edema.

Edema may appear as “sock marks” on the legs and ankles at the end of the day.

Mild peripheral edema is common.

A GP may check for this sign by pressing a finger against the ankle or shin bone to see if a depression or dent is left behind.

This is known as “pitting edema” and it could indicate congestive heart failure.

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Edema may be a sign of heart failure because when the heart is not pumping well, fluid from inside the blood vessels tends to leak out into surrounding tissues.

The legs and ankles are common areas for edema due to its effects of gravity.

Dr Orringer added: “Peripheral edema may be caused by a host of issues.

“The bottom line is that most people with peripheral edema do not have heart disease, but it could be an important sign if there are other signs and symptoms of heart failure.”

Most often, peripheral edema is the result of fluid retention rather than an underlying condition.

The swelling in the feet and ankles is usually mild and temporary.

When a person stands or sits for long periods throughout the day, gravity pulls blood into the legs and this increased pressure pushes fluid from the blood vessel into the soft tissue causing mild swelling.

Swelling related to gravity is called dependent edema and is more pronounced at the end of the day, which is why sock marks are typically worse in the evening.

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