We all ignore medical symptoms from time to time, and it usually doesn’t lead to dire consequences. Let’s be honest: It’s a lot easier to avoid going to the doctor and pretending your secret worries are nothing.
But without a doubt, there are symptoms that should be seen by a doctor. For some guidance on what those might be, we caught up with Cindy Parnes, MD, founder and director of Women’s Health Center of New Jersey in Montvale.
“Paying attention to seemingly minor complaints can sometimes prevent a trip to the ER or uncover a more serious problem,” he notes. So when should you call a doctor? Here are eight red flags you should never ignore.
A sharp pain in the chest could be a heart attack, which is often seen on your TV shows. So, if you have chest compressions, call 911.
Even if the pain is a little severe, you should see a doctor if it recurs. “You have to judge,” Parnes said. Don’t think that a heart attack is always felt in the chest. Back pain, nausea, jaw pain, and extreme fatigue (like you can’t get out of bed without needing a nap) can all indicate that you’re suffering from depression. If any of these things happen to you, call 911 and tell them you’re having a heart attack.
Call 911 immediately if you experience a sudden headache that can be described as the worst pain you’ve ever experienced. You may have an aneurysm, a loose part of the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain.
The pain is the result of an enlarged artery pressing on the brain. If it ruptures, you can die from a stroke or brain hemorrhage. Don’t hesitate; Call 911.
Parnes says it’s different from a migraine, but can have similar symptoms, including vomiting, photosensitivity and fainting. But your headache is so bad that you can’t stand it.
If your headaches start to become frequent (and come on suddenly), see your doctor. These can be signs of brain tumors, vision problems, and many other factors. Even if the emergency isn’t as big as an aneurysm, your doctor should rule out other problems, Parnes says.
Abdominal bloating and flatulence
After a major heart operation, the patient came to Parnes. Although his appetite hadn’t really increased, he seemed constantly bloated. However, he couldn’t even close his pants.
He explained that it could be related to the surgery – perhaps excess air in the stomach from being on the operating table for so long?
Parnes knew this red flag could mean something serious, so he ordered blood tests and an ultrasound. His patient was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“I’m worried about bloating and gas,” Parnes said. “It’s not a one-day change. It’s a continuous change.”
See your doctor if you experience unusual bloating, loss of appetite, postmenopausal bleeding, or changes in the shape of your bowels.
Numbness of hands and feet
If you experience numbness, weakness, tingling, or loss of strength in your arms or legs (for example, difficulty climbing stairs), you may have a herniated or bulging disc that is pressing on a nerve. This nerve can also be damaged.
“If you don’t reduce the pressure on the nerve, you can have permanent nerve changes and damage,” Parnes warns. Call your orthopedist or neurologist to discuss treatment. Usually, the doctor will wait to see if these symptoms go away on their own. But in the meantime, you may need physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like Aleve or others), alternating heat and ice, or cortisone injections. If these treatments fail, surgery may be necessary. . Do not expect attention in any case.
It hurts when the leg is swollen
If you notice swelling, pain, or pain in your calf, see your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.
“It needs immediate attention, and it’s something you shouldn’t wait for,” Parnes said.
The symptoms may indicate a blood clot in your leg, which is a dangerous condition because it can be fatal if the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs.
About 200,000 people die each year from pulmonary embolism, according to the Society of Interventional Radiology, which tracks such statistics. A clot can block the supply of oxygen to your lungs.
However, if treated quickly (usually with blood thinners and close monitoring), the mortality rate is less than 10 percent. Patients with a history of blood clots are most susceptible
MS can cause shortness of breath, discoloration of the legs, more visible veins, and warm spots on the legs.
If you can’t shake the cough, see your doctor.