Do you regularly wake up in the night gagging for a glass of water? Do you experience unexplained tingling sensations in your arms and legs? Are you heaving yourself from your bed multiple times each night for the toilet? If so, you’re not alone: these are all common ‘midlife’ health ailments experienced by people in their forties, fifties, and beyond, doctors say.
Type your symptoms into Google, and you’ll probably be told that you have only minutes to live – or perhaps that you should already be dead. Indeed, in a world of turbocharged health warnings, where everything from burnt toast to ‘posh crisps’ is said to give us cancer, it can be tempting to throw off the doctor’s advice entirely.
But experts warn that some of these common midlife ailments – whilst often harmless – can be a red flag for a more serious underlying health problem.
‘Midlife medicine’ expert Dr Daniel Fenton, a GP and Clinical Director at London Doctor’s Clinic, says doctors need to find the right balance between informing patients about potential risks, and scaring them unnecessarily.
“Telling people about things to look out for is not telling them that everything is cancer, because actually most things are not cancer when you’re in their 40s and 50s,” he says. “It’s simply about informing people so they can be vigilant.”