Discomfort in the chest, or other areas of the upper body
Unlike the movies, most people with a heart attack don’t suddenly fall to the ground clutching their chest. Symptoms often come on slowly, and people may describe an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts a few minutes, or goes away and comes back again. Many people aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. In addition, discomfort may be felt in the upper body, the person may feel short of breath, or break out into a cold sweat.
A headache that you would describe as the worst headache of your life.
Almost one-half of the world’s population has some sort of headache disorder. That’s a lot of headaches. And trying to sort out dangerous headaches from minor headaches is a challenge faced by physicians every day.
Drooping or weakness down one side of the body, or slurred speech
A person’s chances of survival after a stroke are greatly improved if somebody recognises their symptoms quickly.
Few easy ways to remember the sudden signs of stroke.
- Face Drooping. Does one side of the face droop or feel numb. Is the person’s smile uneven?
- Arm Weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Does one arm drift downward when both are raised?
- Speech Difficulty. Is speech slurred? Can they correctly repeat a simple sentence like “The sky is blue.”
Weight loss of more than 10 pounds (5kg) with no good reason
Weight loss is to be celebrated if you have been working out every day, eating healthily to try and lose weight, or following a specific diet. But if you are just sitting around, not doing much, eating what you normally eat, but your weight seems to be falling off, get it checked out. Unexplained weight loss could be a sign of stress, depression, an illness, a digestive disorder, a side effect of some medications (eg, thyroid hormones), or cancer.
Pain in your belly that is severe, doesn’t go away or recurs regularly
There are many different conditions – some serious, others not so serious- that cause stomach pain. Less serious causes include constipation, food allergies or intolerances, food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, and stomach viruses. More serious causes include appendicitis, bowel obstruction, cancer, indigestion or stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disorders (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), and kidney stones.
Bear in mind that how bad your pain is does not always reflect the seriousness of the condition causing the pain. For example, a stomach infection can cause severe stomach cramps whereas colon cancer or early appendicitis may only cause mild pain or no pain.
Get it checked out if it is severe, doesn’t go away within a couple of days, or recurs.
Tenderness, pain, or swelling in one or both legs
Almost all types of pain, swelling, or tenderness in the lower limbs needs to be investigated further by a doctor; however, causes vary greatly in urgency and severity.
Generally, symptoms that come on suddenly, occur just in one leg, or that are accompanied by chest pain, difficulty breathing, or confusion warrant a visit to the ED, as they may be a sign of a blood clot or heart condition.
If the swelling or pain has come on gradually see your doctor as soon as you can. Common causes include arthritis, drug side effects, heart failure, injury, kidney problems, poor circulation, or pregnancy.
Blood mixed with your stool, blood in the urine, non menstrual bleeding
Blood occurring in places where it shouldn’t is a warning sign.
Blood on or mixed into your stool can occur with hemorrhoids, anal fissures, stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, large polyps and cancer. Bright red blood usually indicates bleeding near the rectum whereas dark or tar-like blood mixed in with the stool indicates bleeding higher in the colon or small bowel.
Blood in the urine may turn toilet water red or pink. It may be a sign of a kidney, urinary tract, or prostate problem or occasionally the result of a bleeding disorder.
Bleeding in postmenopausal women or constant bleeding in women of childbearing age always warrants further investigation. Causes include fibroids, polyps, hormonal medication, inflammation or infection of the cervix, ectopic pregnancy, or cancer.
Feeling like there is no point in living anymore
Depression is a very common condition, affecting a lot of people. Left untreated it can cause a downward spiral of worsening mood that can be hard to pull yourself out of.
If you ever feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and death feels like the easiest end to your pain, get help by calling your pastor or see a counselor.
Quick action may save your life
While nobody wants to get sick, it happens to all of us every now and then. The one thing all these symptoms have in common is that your chances of survival are greatly increased if you act quickly. Some things just can’t wait until tomorrow or next week. See your doctor today!