Health matters: 5 Diseases You Can Have Without Knowing It

Some illnesses don’t present symptoms until they’ve become too severe to treat. Learn more about the diseases that you can have without knowing it.

While some diseases have many of the same symptoms, there are other diseases that are also hard to diagnose. Whether it be that some symptoms may take a long time to be active or patients wait until their symptoms are so severe, its makes it hard to pinpoint what the actual disease is. This, in turn, makes it harder to create an action plan to fight the disease.

But the more we know, the more we can fight these diseases earlier to produce better and healthier outcomes for our friends and family. So we’ve compiled a list of diseases that you can have without knowing it.

1. Heart disease

There are several diseases linked to the heart. Heart disease can be hereditary, but it’s also something that can develop over time because of factors like unhealthy habits and aging. Heart disease can be fatal, but it’s unfortunately not always easy to spot. Symptoms can be atypical and not severe enough to signify a problem. By the time a person experiences serious symptoms, the heart could already be significantly damaged.

What To Do: Have regular cholesterol and blood-pressure checks to identify any possible risk factors that could cause heart disease. Have a clear understanding of your family’s medical history and mention to your doctor if heart disease runs in your family.

2. Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon) is difficult to detect without a colonoscopy. It’s one of those diseases that slowly creeps up on you because you don’t experience severe symptoms in the beginning. It can take several years for an abnormal polyp in the digestive system to develop into cancer. According to, the survival rate for colon cancer is 90%, but only about four out of 10 colorectal cancers are found in time. When cancer has spread, survival rates are much lower. Symptoms usually start to manifest when the cancer has already spread. By then it may be too late for effective treatment.

What To Do: A healthy diet, weight, and exercise can significantly lower your risk for colon cancer. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor when you experience a random change in appetite, bowel movements, or any type of digestive problems.

3. Huntington’s disease

Huntington’s disease is a genetic disorder that causes the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. This disease can be present without any symptoms, but by the time symptoms appear, it develops quite rapidly. In some cases, symptoms can start before the age of twenty in the form of learning disabilities and psychological problems. Huntington’s disease can be hard to diagnose.

What To Do: Prenatal testing is possible if you have any family member suffering from the disease and you are worried about the status of your unknown baby. To make a diagnosis, a doctor will also take a full medical and family history and do a clinical examination, involving physical and neurological evaluation.

Those who are at risk but do not yet have symptoms may choose to be genetically tested. Because there is no cure, and because such tests cannot predict the onset or severity of the disease, this decision should be carefully considered.

4. Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (also called pulmonary embolism or DVT) occurs when a clot forms in the deep, larger, lower veins of the legs. This is the same disease that took the life of rapper Heavy D. Other stars like Serena Williams and Tisha Campbell also battle with it. 

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