Is Surprising Or Sudden Weight Gain Serious
Dramatic, unexplained changes in weight can be a sign of a serious health problem. For example, weight loss can be a sign of cancer, while weight gain may be a warning sign of heart failure or thyroid issues. If you experience new bloating or distension in your midsection that is persistent, it could be a sign of ovarian cancer, says Dr. Baechler. Ovarian cancer is uncommon, yet bloating is often one of the first symptoms.
If you have weight gain along with swelling in both of your legs and shortness of breath when you lie flat, you could be showing signs of heart failure, says Ashley Simmons, MD, medical director of the University of Kansas Hospital’s Adelaide C. Ward Women’s Heart Health Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Rapid weight gain, swelling, and retention of fluid can occur when your heart doesnt pump fluid as efficiently as it should.
Pots: A Little Known Cause Of Extreme Fatigue
Everyone knows what being tired feels like at the end of a long day. But some people experience fatigue so severe and so seemingly random that its hard to describe. If that sounds familiar, there could be more going on than daily stress.
While there are many causes of fatigue, one of them is frequently missed and misdiagnosed: postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome . Physical medicine and neuromuscular specialist Tae Chung, M.D., answers questions about POTS and extreme fatigue as one of its symptoms.
Common Symptoms Women Should Never Ignore
Certain symptoms women commonly experience after age 40 may be nothing to worry about, particularly if theyre part of your norm. But when you have a sudden change like headache, nausea, fatigue, unexpected vaginal bleeding, heart palpitations that last more than 15 minutes, or a rash on your breast that doesnt go away within a couple of days, its wise to see your doctor.
The reality is that a lot of times these symptoms are normal, says Courtney Baechler, MD, a cardiologist and vice president of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Hospital in Minneapolis. To put things in perspective, she reminds her patients that these are all things they’ve probably experienced in one form or another in just the past week but they can also indicate a more serious health condition.
Take extreme fatigue in women, for example. Fibromyalgia syndrome, a disorder that causes chronic, deep muscle pain, may cause debilitating fatigue, even headache. Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that occurs more often in women than men and has no known cure. Medication, getting sound sleep, being active, and eating a healthy diet may help the extreme fatigue of fibromyalgia.
Severe fatigue may also be caused by much more serious conditions that need a doctors attention, including, for example:
- Some types of inflammatory arthritis
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Taking Steps To Control Pad
It may seem counterintuitive, but walking and exercise are key to controlling PAD and easing pain.
“Even if you have already been diagnosed with PAD, the more you walk, the more conditioned your legs will become,” says Carroll. “This will improve circulation and blood flow and diminish pain.”
A recent review of prior studies found that walking can significantly improve walking ability in PAD patients, particularly supervised walking programs.
Many patients may benefit from a dedicated walking program. BIDMC offers a 12-week program, often covered by Medicare and most private insurers, which consists of interval walking on a treadmill under the supervision of a specially trained exercise or physical therapist.
“Multiple studies have shown that enrollment in a structured walking program is more beneficial than walking at home, but that may not be feasible for all patients,” says Carroll. “For those that cannot enroll in a dedicated program, I recommend, begin with a half-hour walk several times a week. Then, gradually increase the time or distance at subsequent weeks. Over time, pain should start to improve, allowing you to walk farther and longer. As walking becomes easier, gradually increase your time by five-minute intervals.”
Making treatment or therapy decisions for managing peripheral artery disease can be challenging. BIDMC is at the forefront of engaging patients in making informed, personalized decisions for their care.
Worsening Shortness Of Breath Could Be A Sign Of Heart Disease
Dont ignore shortness of breath by assuming its from a lack of conditioning or recent weight gain. If you experience shortness of breath after exertion that progressively gets worse, it could be a sign of a heart disease like aortic stenosis or coronary artery disease . Check with your doctor if you have shortness of breath that suddenly gets worse.
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Afs And Breathlessness Causes
If there appears to be no physiological basis for any breathlessness causes, the patient may be sent home with a clean bill of health. Most likely, the problem will return and the patient will wind up demanding solutions from a puzzled physician. They may be given an emergency inhaler for temporary relief but the problem will recur without a long-term solution.
In more advanced cases of adrenal fatigue, the client is in a catabolic state. At this point in the progression of adrenal fatigue, they have a decrease in muscle mass and are extremely lean. They have lost muscle mass in the larger muscle groups, such as the quadriceps and gluteal muscles. In addition, the muscles that hold the ribs together, the intercostal muscles, are also weak and diminishing. When a person in this condition attempts to take a deep breath, they find it difficult due to the wasting of the intercostal muscles and loss of muscle strength. When this happens, expansion of the ribcage cannot occur normally. At this point there is both a physical and structural compromise to the breathing action, and this lack of proper muscle strength becomes one of the more serious breathlessness causes. This situation is extremely rare and emergency medical attention may be required in these situations to ascertain that you are stable and able to breath on your own accord.
What Can You Do About Trigger Points That Might Be Interfering With Respiration
Muscle trigger points are unpredictable and mysterious: exactly what they are and how to treat them is controversial. Sometimes they seem to melt as easily as ice cream in the sun, and so the first thing to try is just a little simple self-massage, or a warm bath, or both. The problem could be solved by a self-treatment as simple as digging with your thumbs into some aching muscles between your ribs. Voila no more shortness of breath! Ive seen it go like that many times, and even experienced it myself
My story: I am generally prone to muscle pain, and one of the most persistent specific challenges Ive had is with breathing pain not shortness of breath in my case, but breathing limited by pain. For about twenty years, I had routine episodes of strong pain that choked off my breath. Once every few days, I would be nearly paralyzed by it for several minutes, and sometimes nightmarish episodes of an hour or more. The pain would ease when I relaxed for long enough but its hard to relax when you cant breathe.
I recovered! I experimented with self-massage of my intercostals, discovered that I could easily stop any attack of this pain within a minute just by rubbing between the ribs near the pain.11 It was a revelation. Ive probably never been so happy to learn anything! Over a year or two, I massaged my intercostals regularly until I stopped having these episodes at all, and that benefit has now persisted for many years.
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Treating A Tight Chest
Your doctor will conduct tests to determine the cause of your chest tightness. If the tests for a heart attack come back negative, your symptoms may be caused by anxiety.
You should discuss your symptoms with your doctor to determine when to seek immediate medical attention if you experience chest tightness again. It may be possible to link your chest tightness to other symptoms thatll help you identify anxiety versus a cardiac event.
Unexpected Irregular Vaginal Bleeding
Irregular bleeding, especially if its accompanied by pain during sex, could signal a serious condition like cervical cancer or uterine cancer. If your menstrual period becomes unusually heavy or irregular, occurs more often than every three weeks, or you have spotting between periods, get these symptoms checked out.
Discuss any post-menopausal spotting with your doctor. Even a little bit of bleeding after menopause is abnormal, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Some of the common causes are polyps and either atrophy or thickening of the endometrium the lining of your uterus.
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What Is Pots And Why Does It Cause Fatigue
POTS is a group of symptoms resulting from dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. This branch of the nervous system regulates functions we dont consciously control like sweating and blood circulation.
In people with POTS, more blood collects in the lower body when standing upright. The heart beats faster to pump it up to the brain, but with little success. The causes of POTS are unknown, but the problem is thought to lie in the communication breakdown between the brain and the cardiovascular system.
POTS-related fatigue is physical in nature and the mechanism behind it is not fully understood. It may have several causes, including your body working harder to move the blood.
Sudden Or Severe Abdominal Pain
The big worries: Sudden abdominal pain could signal that an aortic aneurysm a bulge that develops in the aorta, frequently in the abdominal area has ruptured. “If the aneurysm ruptures, the pain tends to be sudden and severe and typically centralized around the belly button,” says Richard Desi, M.D., a gastroenterologist with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Alternatively, sudden pain can indicate a perforated viscus , often due to an ulcer. Intestinal ischemia, which happens when blood flow to the intestines slows or stops, starving tissues of oxygen, can be a culprit, too. “It’s more common in older, sicker patients who have heart failure or atrial fibrillation,” says Brian Putka, M.D., a gastroenterologist with the Cleveland Clinic. Each of these conditions is life threatening, requiring emergency surgery.
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How Would You Describe Fatigue Associated With Pots
People with POTS experience fatigue differently. Many describe it as feeling beyond exhausted. Its as if your energy is completely depleted. The fatigue is probably hundreds of times worse than your worst flu. People with POTS may also have trouble concentrating and thinking straight. Doing simple tasks may feel like youve just run a marathon.
This fatigue might come and go, hitting you without warning daily, weekly or less frequently. For some people, extreme fatigue lasts for days. Others may experience periodic attacks. It can come on at any moment even if you just woke up. And there is no amount of sleep or coffee that can make it go away.
Other Causes Of Abdominal Bloating And Shortness Of Breath
Abdominal bloating has many causes. It is more common in people who experience functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or gastroparesis. Bloating can be due to the buildup of gas, fluids, or food in the stomach.
Abdominal bloating can affect the diaphragm, a muscular partition between the chest and abdomen. The diaphragm assists in breathing, which means bloating can lead to shortness of breath. This happens if the pressure in the abdomen is enough to restrict the movement of the diaphragm.
Being short of breath can cause you to take small, short breaths. This can lead to swallowing air, which is known as aerophagia. Difficulty breathing can be brought on by anxiety or panic attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , pneumonia, and asthma attacks.
There are conditions that can result in both abdominal bloating and shortness of breath.
Any condition that leads to the buildup of air or foodstuffs could cause both bloating and shortness of breath. Also, stool inside the intestines, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, constipation, ileus, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis could cause bloating and shortness of breath.
If bloating or shortness of breath is severe, seek immediate medical treatment.
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Is It Possible That I Have Pots And Was Incorrectly Diagnosed
This is entirely possible. Given how common POTS symptoms are and how unfamiliar many doctors are with this condition, diagnostic mishaps happen. POTS is frequently misidentified as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, anxiety disorder, ADHD, irritable bowel syndrome, myositis, etc. It is also possible that you have both POTS and one of these conditions, which may complicate the diagnosis. Sometimes people with POTS are told that its all in your head, implying that the cause of their symptoms is psychological. If you feel like something is physically wrong, dont hesitate to seek a second, and even a third or fourth opinion.
COVID-19 and POTS: Is There a Link?
Although many people recover quickly from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, others who recover may continue to experience symptoms for months. Researchers are still determining the cause of these extended symptoms, but some COVID-19 “long-haulers” may actually be dealing with POTS.
Cardiorespiratory Measurements During Exercise
Ventilation , oxygen uptake , carbon dioxide output , tidal volume , and respiratory frequency were measured breath by breath via a facemask. Heart rate was recorded using a Polar heart rate monitor linked directly to the metabolic system. ECG and arterial O2 saturation were monitored continuously using an ECG/pulse oximeter monitor . The CM5 ECG configuration was used to optimize the detection of any exercise-related rhythm disturbances.
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Sudden Vision Changes May Be Signs Of A Stroke
As you age, its normal for your vision to progressively worsen. But dont ever ignore visual changes that affect only one eye, the sudden onset of double vision, or the inability to see the center of what youre looking at.
Vision changes that occur suddenly can be signs of a stroke. Theyre particularly alarming if they come with other warning symptoms of stroke, such as numbness on one side of the body, or difficulty speaking or finding the right words. More subtle variations on these symptoms could indicate a transient ischemic attack, commonly called a mini-stroke. Getting them checked out could prevent a larger stroke later, Baechler says.
Arthritis And Other Joint Problems
Several diseases and conditions can make your legs swell:
- Gout: A sudden painful attack caused by uric acid crystals in your joints that usually follows drinking heavily or eating rich foods. Learn more about the symptoms of gout.
- Knee bursitis: Inflammation in a bursa, a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bone and muscle, skin, or tendon. Learn how to treat knee bursitis.
- Osteoarthritis: The wear and tear type that erodes cartilage. Learn more about osteoarthritis symptoms.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: A disease where your immune system attacks tissues in your joints. Learn more about rheumatoid arthritis.
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When Is Fatigue Considered Extreme
There is no good criteria for assessing the level of fatigue it depends on the person. However, most people know when their tiredness is more than a lack of sleep. Some of my patients remember the exact day they got hit with fatigue so overwhelming that they knew something was wrong.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
POTS is a common condition affecting an estimated one to three million Americans. Researchers dont fully understand the causes of POTS, but it is more common in women than men and is more likely to develop in adolescents and young adults.
What You Can Do
First, if youve noticed leg pain and youre not sure why, schedule an appointment with us. We can perform tests to find out if you have PAD and, if so, how severe it is.
Early stages of PAD can often be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. For example, quitting smoking is often an important first step in slowing the progression of PAD. Other interventions include walking therapy and medications.
In more severe cases, surgery may be the best option.
Without treatment, PAD can lead to infection or even tissue loss, and of course, your risk of a heart attack is higher.
Dont assume your leg pain is simply a fact of getting older or working hard. Schedule an appointment at a Heart & Vascular Institute location in Dearborn, Detroit, or Southfield, Michigan, so we can diagnose whats causing your leg pain and provide, if needed, effective treatment.
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When Should I Call My Doctor About Pulmonary Hypertension
- Weight gain â 2 pounds in one day or 5 pounds in one week
- Swelling in your ankles, legs, or abdomen that has become worse
- Shortness of breath that has become worse, especially if you wake up short of breath
- Extreme fatigue or decreased tolerance for activity
- A respiratory infection or a cough that has become worse
- Fast heart rate
- Episodes of chest pain or discomfort with exertion that are not relieved with rest
- Difficulty breathing with regular activities or at rest
- Restlessness, confusion
When To Seek Medical Help
Most abdominal bloating should resolve itself with time when the excess gases, liquids, or food can move through the stomach and intestines. However, if your abdominal bloating and shortness of breath last longer than a day, seek medical attention.
The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you need help finding a primary care doctor.
Also seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms along with shortness of breath and abdominal bloating:
Medical treatments for abdominal bloating and shortness of breath will address the underlying condition. For example, over-the-counter medications may help resolve abdominal bloating. Bronchodilators can help to open the airways and improve breathing.
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