by Geri Walton ~ February 21st, 2009
People sometimes have physical symptoms that something is wrong, and, occasional symptoms, such as a headache, a back ache, or an upset stomach, may be nothing to worry about; however, if your symptoms are persistent or accompanied by other symptoms, they may indicate serious health emergencies and should not be ignored. So, here’s the list of signs that likely indicate you need to seek immediate help.
It is difficult to determine the cause of abdominal pain because so many things can cause it. However, if you have severe cramps and/or if they lasts more than one or two days, or if you have other symptoms with the abdominal pain, such as constant nausea or persistent vomiting, you should see your health care professional because you may have appendicitis, ulcers, gallstones, gallbladder disease, or stomach cancer.
According to webMD, 80 percent of all people at one time or another suffer from back pain, and it can occur in the lower, middle, or upper back. Back pain is such a common symptom, many people think they don’t have to worry about it, but if you have back pain along with fever or any neurological symptoms—numbness, shooting pains, or tingling in one or both legs—it may indicate a serious health problem.
Unless chest pain is related to a musculoskeletal injury, you should usually not ignore as it may indicate a heart attack. One way you can tell the difference is if you move and pain occurs, it’s likely related to a pulled muscle and will disappear in a day or two. However, if you feel pressure, discomfort, or heaviness in your chest or if the pain radiates down your arm, to your neck, jaw, or breastbone, call 911 immediately. Doctors at the Harvard Medical School also suggest you immediately chew two 325-mg aspirin because chewed aspirin gets into your system faster than drinking it with water and because aspirin inhibits platelets and reduces clotting.
Some people get headaches frequently, but if you have headaches more than once a month or if they increase in frequency you could have a brain infection, meningitis, or possibly a brain tumor. Additionally, if your headache is accompanied by such symptoms as blurred vision, nausea, or slurred speech, you may being having a stroke, so, call 911 immediately.
If you feel as if your calf is on fire, you may be suffering from a blood clot called deep-vein thrombosis. It tends to happen when a person sits for a long period of time and the blood pools in the lower body. It can happen on a long airline flight or when you sit for long periods at work. Women on the pill and smokers have a higher risk of developing these cots. If this happens to you, don’t try to massage it or walk it off because the clot could break free and potentially enter your lungs where it could shut off your blood supply. Instead, call your health care professional for further instructions.
Everybody has aches and pains at one time or another. However, if they are serious, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms, they may constitute a health emergency. It is also better to be safe than sorry, so if you have any of the symptoms described above, take proper action to remain well and healthy. If you’re interested in learning more about health emergencies and how to respond, Stuart Fischer and Mark D. Steisel have written The Little Book of Big Medical Emergencies: How to Recognize and Respond to the Most Common Medical Emergencies, which can provide more complete information.