Monday, May 27

9 Senior Diseases That DON’T Show up in Blood Work

These senior diseases don’t show up in blood tests! 

We all have those moments when we feel a bit off and go to see our doctor, who recommends a series of blood tests. But while you were eager to see the results and receive a diagnosis for your possible health condition, boom! The results are as clean as a whistle. So what’s next, then? It turns out that because of the complex structure of our bodies, many diseases would rather remain hidden from most blood tests.

While depression, for example, might be detected via blood tests in the years ahead, some health conditions aren’t exactly easy to diagnose. Here are some examples of senior diseases that don’t show up in the blood tests:

senior diseases
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1. Parkinson’s disease

Most of the time, patients who suffer from this particular condition have the same symptoms: stiffness and exaggerated shaking. But it can differ from one person to another, and if it’s in its early phase, doctors may fail to discover it in blood tests.

Symptoms like shaking and stiffness are also signs of high levels of stress, a head injury, or a minor stroke, not necessarily Parkinson’s disease. This is one of the senior diseases that might take years to determine if you have it for sure because there is no standard test. Imaging studies that demonstrate how your brain processes dopamine might lead your doctor on the proper path. Blood tests do not prove it, but a specialized scan may.

2. Multiple sclerosis (MS)

One of the many senior diseases that can’t be detected via blood tests is multiple sclerosis. For those who don’t know, this is a chronic disease of the brain and the spinal cord that is unpredictable most of the time.

While certain individuals are mildly affected by these conditions, others have to deal with a lot of bad symptoms, like losing the ability to walk, speak, or see straight. Fatigue, vertigo, sadness, and other symptoms that may indicate a variety of illnesses can be brought on by it. While testing on your spinal fluid or imaging scans cannot definitively diagnose MS, they can help limit the diagnosis and give proper treatment for it.

3. Endometriosis

This isn’t something that affects only seniors; however, it is another condition that can’t be detected by simple blood tests. You probably heard a lot in the past about it because a lot of women are diagnosed with it. Since there are no particular symptoms specific to this disease, it can lead to confusion and a wrong diagnosis.

It may be mistaken for other conditions that produce discomfort in the same location, such as irritable bowel syndrome or an ovarian cyst. The only method to find out is through a laparoscopy, in which a physician makes a slit in the abdomen and inserts a small tube with a light and lens on it to examine. For further investigation, the doctor could also grab some tissue from the area.

4. Rheumatoid arthritis

The “rheumatoid factor” blood test provides a useful indicator. However, it is uncertain. Some rheumatoid arthritis patients get negative test results, and vice versa. Your symptoms—persistently painful, swollen, and stiff joints that often affect both sides of your body—help doctors diagnose you.

While there is no specific blood test that can help diagnose this condition, your doctor can recommend you do MRI and ultrasound tests. These imaging techniques can be used to evaluate the degree of joint damage and the severity of the illness.

5. Chronic fatigue syndrome

Are you constantly tired and not even melatonin pills help you anymore? Well, this may be a sign of chronic fatigue syndrome, but it won’t show up in blood tests. The main symptoms of this particular condition are frequent headaches, sore throats, aches in the muscles, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty concentrating.

However, they may also be indicators of other illnesses, including diabetes, anemia, thyroid issues, sleep apnea, insomnia, and others. If you have at least two of the symptoms presented before, make sure you make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

senior diseases
Photo by Peakstock from Shutterstock

6. Prostate cancer

While there is no possible blood test that will show cancer in the results, there is one named PSA that can show traces of possible cancer. But it isn’t 100% accurate. Since this isn’t one of the senior diseases and cancer can appear at any age, you can get a PSA test from your doctor if you are over 40.

In some circumstances, your doctor could suggest an MRI to provide a more complete picture of the prostate. If an abnormality is discovered during the examination, a procedure to remove a prostate tissue sample can be scheduled.

By simply hearing the word “cancer,” a lot of people freak out. And this happens for a reason. Even if technology and medicine have evolved quite a lot in the past few years, cancer remains a mystery.

If you or any other family member is going through prostate cancer, it is good to understand how it works, what the symptoms are, and, more importantly, how the treatment will go. Understanding Prostate Cancer: causes, symptoms, and treatments is available in paperback format for just $9.99 on Amazon. 

7. Fibromyalgia

Since there is no test for this, your doctor will first rule out lupus, arthritis, or other conditions as the source of your body’s pain. They could also attempt to rule out sadness or anxiety if you have trouble sleeping or thinking straight. After thoroughly observing your symptoms for some time and being certain that nothing else is the cause of your symptoms, they could diagnose you with fibromyalgia.

Don’t panic if, when taking blood tests, you see the nurse taking a syringe full of blood. This is to determine other causes of those sore muscles that are ongoing.

8. Epilepsy

It is impossible to diagnose epilepsy from a blood sample. Nothing is shown by the specialist’s examinations, not even brain traces or scans. If you have symptoms like sudden loss of consciousness, weird movements of legs and arms that can’t be controlled, or cognitive or emotional changes, it’s crucial to tell your doctor.

The best way to detect unusual electrical activity in your brain is by EEG (electroencephalogram). The test is painless and very safe, and it won’t last more than 30 minutes.

9. Irritable bowel syndrome

Changes in toilet habits and abdominal discomfort that linger for at least three months are the symptoms of this medical condition.

Since blood tests won’t reveal this illness, before making a diagnosis, your doctor will need to rule out conditions including lactose intolerance, celiac disease, bacterial infections, or parasites. For that, your doctor may need to go through your complete medical history.

Bottom line:

In conclusion, blood tests may not always provide the whole picture even if they are certainly useful tools for tracking health. Unfortunately, many illnesses are hidden beneath the surface, not showing signs until they become serious. Regular check-ups are essential because of this, particularly as we become older.

These consultations thoroughly evaluate our health, enabling doctors to identify possible problems early and take appropriate action. Remember that the best medication is frequently prevention. Thus, let’s put our health first by being vigilant and making check-up appointments. Taking care of ourselves today guarantees a better and healthier future, after all!

You may also be interested in reading about the Early Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer After 55. 

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