Silent Sickness: Five Diseases that are Virtually Asymptomatic

Without a doubt, health is an issue that should matter to all of us. Fortunately, in these modern times (and thanks to the technological innovations which have made it possible), it’s relatively easy for most of us to maintain good health. However, there are a variety of diseases that, in addition to not presenting symptoms, can be quite dangerous — and even fatal — if not caught early. 

These illnesses are known as the so-called “asymptomatic” diseases, and they can be either mild in presentation, or they can easily turn severe. Regardless, the existence of these diseases underscores the importance of undergoing regular medical checkups. The fact is, many of these diseases can present small signs and clues as to their presence. While they may not be easy for you to recognize, they can be detected by a doctor through the appropriate tests. 

Without early detection, you may not realize that you suffer from any of these until it’s too late. At this point, they may have entered an intractable stage and may require more extensive treatment with a poorer prognosis. Conversely, through routine checkups and screenings, the possibility of identifying it dramatically increases. In turn, you can start the process of recovery and avoid lasting complications which may arise from them.

Type 2 Diabetes

Also called “non-insulin-dependent diabetes,” this disease arises when your body does not produce insulin, or it may not use the insulin your body produced very well. Without properly regulated insulin, your body’s blood glucose levels can rise dramatically. These elevated blood glucose levels can cause complications in your heart, eyes, and even your gums and teeth. 

Approximately 1 in 11 adults worldwide suffers from Type 2 diabetes, and it brings with it a series of very subtle symptoms or signs. The small symptoms that your body can present with this disease include:

  • Frequent urination 
  • Feeling hungry, thirsty, and tired regularly 
  • Weight loss
  • Slow healing of wounds 
  • Blurred vision

Since this is a disease that affects more than one organ, it can inflict several long-term complications if not treated in time. Furthermore, it can cause damage to the nerves in your extremities, your blood vessels, and can even cause kidney disease. 

Arterial Disease

Arterial disease, also known as “peripheral vascular disease,” disease occurs in about 5% of people. The risk of developing it increases to 20% in those over 70 years of age. This is a disease that can progress for years in your body without showing a single symptom. Its low level of detection makes it one of the most dangerous types of heart disease. 

While one of the biggest risks of arterial disease is amputation, it also has another very serious one that can go undetected: a heart attack. With a silent heart attack, you may not feel any symptoms at all — until the time of the attack itself. Victims of these attacks do not have chest pain or shortness of breath, which are symptoms highly related to heart attacks. Rather, it may feel simply like indigestion.

The risk factors to consider are the same as with a normal heart attack, including:

  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

Routine medical checkups, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, can help mitigate your risk of arterial disease.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Sexually transmitted diseases are infections that are spread through sexual contact. Despite being known as “diseases,” however, they are usually a type of infection. Nobody is immune to STDs, and they can occur in your body at any age, regardless of your race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Sexually transmitted diseases, depending on the type, can have a mortality rate of up to 15% of infected patients. This may seem surprising, especially with the public education about these infections. This truly highlights the importance of education regarding the prevention and treatment for them.

Some of the most common sexually transmitted diseases that you can get during sexual intercourse/outercourse include:

  • Human papillomavirus
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Genital herpes

Many of these diseases present with clear physical symptoms. However, this can vary. There’s a possibility that may be a patient with one of these viruses and have no visible symptoms. For this reason, it’s important that you get a medical check-up, combined with an Aptima multitest swab, just in case you suspect you suspect you have been exposed to one of these.

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins by affecting the large intestine and usually spreads throughout your digestive system. This disease usually affects older people; however, it’s possible that you suffer from it at any age. This usually begins as a group of cells called polyps. Over time, these polyps can eventually develop into colon cancer.

These polyps can cause very few or mild symptoms, or in some cases, no symptoms. Some of the mild symptoms are:

  • Persistent change in your bowel habits (such as diarrhea and constipation)
  • A change in the consistency of your stool
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Abdominal discomfort caused by cramps or gas
  • Sudden weight loss

If you happen to observe any of these signs, and you are in the typical demographics of someone who may be more inclined to develop colon cancer, routine screening is of the utmost importance.

Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV)

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a type of virus that spread through the blood of infected persons. This virus weakens the white blood cells of the immune system, leaving your body too weak and susceptible to being affected by other infections. Despite being a virus that’s spread mostly sexually, it’s possible to spread it through syringes, certain bodily fluids, and even during pregnancy.

The first symptoms after suffering an HIV infection are often confused with those of the flu. These include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Throat pain
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Fatigue

This is an infection that has no cure. However, there are treatments that can help control it and prevent the formation of AIDS (“acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,” the last stage of this disease), allowing a better long-term prognosis for the patient.

Are You Healthy?

With so much stress and pressure on us these days, it can be difficult to notice any subtle signs that your health may not be as ideal as you thought it might be. By remaining attentive to any of the more understated signs of illness, however, you can identify these serious illnesses before they start to manifest more severe symptoms. A combination of mindfulness, in conjunction with routine medical appointments and screenings with your doctor, can help ensure the best possible health for you at all stages of your life.