Keeping Symptoms In Check

Many people seem to ignore their body's warning signs. Many are afraid that they could mean that's something's seriously wrong and don't want to face the possibility that they could be really sick. Others probably downplay their symptoms, sure that they are the result of something more minor like fatigue or stress.

But Saturday Early Show medical contributor Dr. Mallika Marshall says what people need to realize is that many of these symptoms, if caught early, are completely treatable, and if left untreated, can be very dangerous.

Here is a list of conditions with Dr. Marshall's explanations of the symptoms:

Thyroid Disorder
Symptoms depend on whether you have an overactive thyroid or an underactive thyroid. Hyperthyroidism, or having too much thyroid hormone, can cause anxiety, palpitations, weight loss or hot flashes. Hypothyroidism (having too little thyroid hormone) can cause fatigue, weight gain, or feeling cold all the time.

Both thyroid conditions are treatable, so if you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor about having a simple blood test to check your thyroid function.

The most common symptoms of diabetes or having high blood sugar include feeling thirsty all the time, feeling hungry all the time, feeling the need to urinate more frequently, and feeling tired and exhausted. It is very important to be diagnosed with diabetes early on because untreated it can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and vision loss.

Again, this is a condition that can be successfully treated and managed, sometimes with diet and exercise alone.

Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It usually develops in people under the age of 40, but can develop later in life, too. The most common symptoms include blurred vision, numbness, weakness and trouble walking. And even though there is currently no cure, there are a number of drugs used to control the illness and some promising new treatments on the horizon. Symptoms of MS can also be caused by stroke, certain types of migraine headaches and even brain tumors.

If you develop neurological symptoms, get in to see your doctor immediately.

Pulmonary Embolism
A pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening condition in which a blood clot travels from the legs to the lungs. It can cause heart failure and is sometimes deadly - so if you have any of the following symptoms, don't hesitate to get evaluated. Look out for a swollen, red or painful calf and shortness of breath or chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing.

This is a condition that is preventable if caught while the blood clot is still in the leg, and treatable with blood thinners once it has traveled to the lung, but only if caught early.

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes and usually appears as a painless lump or swelling in the neck, groin or armpit. Other symptoms might include fever, nightsweats and weight loss. Lymphoma can be very treatable if caught early on, so if you notice a new lump, get it checked out by your doctor right away. Don't wait until it's too late.