February is American Heart Month, so you’ve likely heard recent buzz about women’s heart health awareness – an important topic of discussion since many women neglect proper cardiac care and fail to seek emergency treatment for heart attack symptoms. Often because women are simply unaware of the unique heart attack symptoms they might experience, or the silent warning signs of heart disease to look out for at preventive checkups, despite the fact that heart disease remains the number one killer of women in the United States.
Unfortunately, it’s not just heart health that women need to worry about – here are five frequently overlooked symptoms that women should never wait out.
Leg pain and swelling
With more of the workforce taking on deskbound positions, Americans are spending more time sitting down than ever. As a consequence, women—who already have a higher risk of chronic venous insufficiency and varicose veins in the lower body—may develop blood clots that could become life-threatening. A blood clot that forms in the leg as a result of poor circulation can become dislodged and travel to the heart or lungs, where it may present a medical emergency as a heart attack or pulmonary embolism.
Symptoms like bloating, severe cramps, frequent gas, and loss of appetite can point to many different conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, uterine fibroids, or even ovarian cancer. Because there are so many common symptoms among a wide range of different health conditions, women who are experiencing regular abdominal discomfort should see a doctor for a definitive diagnosis.
Any changes to your menstrual cycle should be a reason to talk to your doctor. If you are having abnormally heavy or long periods along with unexplained weight gain, increased facial hair growth, and an imbalance of insulin, you may have an underdiagnosed condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. Over time, PCOS may lead to infertility, diabetes, heart problems, and other serious complications, so you will not want to let symptoms go unnoticed.
Recurring aches and pains
Women tend to delay medical care or wait out symptoms because of busy schedules, but this habit can be detrimental when it comes to conditions that worsen over time. Orthopedic issues like osteoporosis, arthritis, and herniated spinal discs can all cause increasingly severe symptoms as damage to the musculoskeletal system continues to develop. To better manage conditions that affect the bones and joints, don’t ignore any recurring aches and pains, especially if they are accompanied by symptoms like numbness and tingling in the extremities or limited range of motion.
Everyone experiences fatigue from time to time, but when it feels like you have no energy and are unable to complete even the most basic daily tasks because of fatigue, it is time to talk to a doctor. Chronic fatigue syndrome could be to blame for your symptoms, but it is essential to rule out other conditions like mononucleosis, since there is no single diagnostic test for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Women on the go don’t have to let symptoms go untreated. With MeMD available around the clock, you’ll never have guesswork when it comes to your healthcare, speak with a medical provider 24/7.