NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Migraines, high blood pressure, and psoriasis are all difficult diseases to live with.
Now, doctors claim these and other chronic illnesses could be an indication that a patient is suffering from an even scarier condition known as “The Shadow Disease,” CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois reported Friday.
Wendy Polanco said she suffers from debilitating migraines, but she had no idea that the culprit lurking behind the pain was something much worse.
“Everything bothers me. Any sounds, the light bothers me, I’m not even able to stand up, I had a mild stroke,” she said.
Polanco’s migraines may have been an indication of heart disease. Doctors said the migraines were a “Shadow Disease,” an illness that could be an indicator of another more serious condition.
“A shadow disease is when you have two illnesses that frequently occur together. The correlation or the causation may not be very clear, but there’s always some scientific basis and speculation that the philosophy behind one illness may be similar to the second illness,” Dr. Edward Chai, Director of Neurology at New York Hospital Queens, explained.
Research has linked high blood pressure with diabetes, psoriasis with heart attacks, endometriosis with melanoma, asthma with depression, and more.
“The first thing that would come to mind for me as a Parkinson’s Disease specialist would be Parkinson’s and restless leg syndrome,” Dr. Chai said.
The couplings occur for different reasons. In some cases one disease creates damage that causes the second, Dr. Chai explained. In others, certain behaviors like smoking or a lack of exercise can trigger one problem and then another.
Medical experts stressed that patients need to disclose all of their symptoms to their doctor regardless of how minor they believed them to be.
“It helps us as health care professionals to be motivated to help in terms of detecting and treating patients,” Dr. Suja Johnkutty explained.
Another “Shadow Disease” combination is metabolic syndrome and kidney stones.
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