Six Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

When it comes to certain critical health problems, it is often the minutes before an individual seeks medical help that can have the most impact on outcome. With some physical symptoms, waiting is never a good tactic. Here are six symptoms you should never ignore.

Chest Pain or Discomfort: Immediately consult a health care provider if experiencing any type of pain or feeling of squeezing, pressure, or heaviness in the chest. Also cause for immediate concern is tightness in the chest which impedes breathing; pain or pressure that intensifies with exertion and lessens with rest; and palpitations (a feeling of fluttering or a rapid heartbeat). Palpitations can be the result of a variety of conditions from anxiety to menopause, but it is always a good idea to consult a health care provider about this symptom.

A Sudden, Excruciating Headache: Because of possible causes like stroke, aneurysm, meningitis or brain tumor, this type of headache is considered to be a medical emergency and merits an immediate call to a health care professional.

Trouble with Speech, Movement and/or Vision: Common symptoms of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) include numbness or paralysis on one side of the body, problems with speech, and blurred or reduced vision. People who experience one or all of these symptoms should get immediate medical care. Prompt treatment can reduce the risks for brain damage in the case of stroke and help to prevent a future stroke in the case of TIA. Other vision problems that are cause for concern are flashes of light. This symptom may indicate the onset of retinal detachment, and prompt medical treatment may be needed for the affected eye.

Unexplained Weight Loss: While you might be tempted to think of this symptom as a stroke of good luck, unexplained weight loss can sometimes signal a health problem. Loss of ten percent of body weight (for example, 20 pounds for a 200 pound person) or more without dieting may signal a variety of conditions like overactive thyroid, diabetes, liver disease or cancer.

An Abnormally High or Persistent Fever: As a fever is typically one of the body's ways to fight infection, it isn't always a cause for alarm. However, if you come down with a fever greater than 103 degrees, you should immediately call your health care provider.

Occasionally, certain medications can cause a fever to stick around, but a persistent fever can sometimes indicate a serious infection or possible cancerous condition. Therefore, if you experience a fever for longer than three days, contact your health care provider.

Dizziness: This symptom should always be diagnosed by a professional. Feelings of dizziness can be the result of a variety of health problems, from minor issues like dehydration or inner ear imbalance to more serious conditions like diabetes, heart problems or Parkinson's disease.

When it comes to good health, it is always better to be safe than sorry. With some serious health problems, the more quickly a diagnosis is made and an individual receives treatment, the less damage occurs. The six symptoms above should always be evaluated by a health care professional.


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