When Byron Geldard, an 18-year-old resident of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, went to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Cambridge last August, he was suffering from pain in his side. He didn’t expect to be prescribed a urine pregnancy test.Worse, it came back positive. In Geldard’s case, the positive results pointed to testicular cancer.A spokeswoman told UK daily, The Telegraph, urine pregnancy tests are being used to diagnose testicular cancer since the proteins detected in the urine of testicular cancer patients as identical to those present in the urine of pregnant women. It may sound strange, but often, diseases show up in symptoms that seem bafflingly unrelated. Here’s are a few to watch out for.SYMPTOM: ICE CRAVING
POINTS TO: ANAEMIA
If you have lost the desire for food but have picked up an appetite for ice, sand, chalk, stone etc., there’s a chance that you could be anaemic, says a study by French researchers, published in 2005 in the American Journal of Medicine. The disorder is called pica.
Dr Hemant Thacker, honorary physician, Jaslok Hospital, says, the association between iron deficiency and craving for ice, chalk and paint has not been scientifically established. “The symptom goes away when the problem is addressed, unless of course there is a delay and pica turns into a habit,” he adds. About 44 percent of anaemics crave ice, which may be linked to seeking relief from chronic tongue pain or swelling.
POINTS TO: DEMENTIA
A newfound urge to steal, according to research published in JAMA Neurology is one of the earliest known signs of a type of dementia that messes with a part of the brain that helps you recognise societal rules. You could want to steal anything from candy from the grocer to expensive perfume at a mall. “When a person starts developing dementia, the prefrontal cortex region of his brain, which controls social judgement, starts malfunctioning. A healthy person is able to control his urges, unlike here,” explains Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla, professor of psychiatry, Grant Government Medical College. He adds that dementia -an umbrella term used to describe impairment of memory, communication and thinking -can be prevented with a diet balanced with multivitamins, especially E, B12 and folic acid.
SYMPTOM: BAD BREATH
POINTS TO: ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
You may want to think that the terrible dragon breath is a sign of poor oral hygiene. However, halitosis could point to a liver condition.
When suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis, the body is unable to effectively break down and use glucose as energy source. So, it opts to break down body fat instead. As a byproduct, the body produces ketones which result in sweet, fruity breath, especially if chemicals continue to build up in the blood and urine, according to the National Institutes of Health. Diabetic ketoacidosis can become a serious problem if unaddressed, because ketones are poisonous at high levels.
Dr Rajan Bhonsle, Head of Department of Sexual Medicine, KEM Hospital and G.S. Medical College, says, “If the liver is compromised and not functioning optimally, the `free testosterone’ level in the blood gets affected, thereby affecting libido and erection. Therefore a bad liver could cause erectile dysfunction, and bad breath could be an indicator of it.”
SYMPTOM: SUDDEN CHILLS
Feeling a chill even while you are out in the hot sun? It could be a sign of an underactive thyroid gland, suggests research from Southern Illinois University. “The abnormality of the thyroid gland affects temperature centers of the brain. The patient suddenly feels cold or hot despite no change in outside temperature. This may not be an atypical symptom, however, most patients do not bring it to the doctor’s immediate notice,” says Dr Thacker