6 Health Signs That Shouldn’t Be Ignored

February 4, 2010 | by DoctorSolve

Last winter, actress Natasha Richardson was admitted after complaining of a headache. Earlier that day she was skiing on a beginner hill and took a fall without wearing a helmet. She claimed she felt fine and joked about the fall with her ski instructor, and carried on with her day. An ambulance that could have saved her life was turned away. Richardson said she felt fine and didn’t think anything of the head trauma, ignoring a dangerous health sign that caused her death. Seemingly mild symptoms can be more dangerous that we think – so a little knowledge about health signs could one day save your life.

1. Splitting headaches – We all get headaches every now and then, but if you ever experience a headache more painful than any other headache you’ve had before, make sure you go to the doctor. It could be a sinus headache if you have a cold, but it could also be a brain tumor or a hemorrhage. If you aren’t completely sure what causes the pain, have it checked out. Painful headaches are also a symptom of brain bleeding and could be signs of an aneurysm. If you also are unable to move your neck, you may have meningitis and require immediate antibiotics to prevent damage.
2. Pins and needles sensation in the feet or legs – Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, and 1/4 of those are not diagnosed. High blood sugar levels could damage your nervous system (causing pins and needles) and result in diabetes and deadly complications if not diagnosed. This is the first sign of diabetes for many people.
3. Stomach pain – If you have intense pain in your stomach and still have your appendix, head to the ER right away. An appendix could rupture within 48 to 72 hours after symptoms start. A ruptured appendix can cause an infection that can be life-threatening.
4. Calf pain – A blood clot that occurs deep down in the calf vein is called thrombosis. Affecting 2 million Americans a year, deep vein thrombosis can be life-threatening. A piece of the clot can break loose and cause a clot in the lungs. Cancer, obesity, immobility due to bed rest or long-distance travel, pregnancy, and advanced age are risk factors.
5. Chest pain – Chest pain is the most important health symptom that shouldn’t be ignored. Discomfort in the chest (such as pressure) is the first sign of a heart attack. Don’t wait for the feeling of pain before you call a doctor – if it feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest, have someone call 911 immediately.
6. Shortness of breath – If you feel short of breath after running after the bus or taking the stairs, its nothing to be worried about. If you are experiencing shortness of breath while sitting down, however, it is a sign of heart failure. It could also be asthma, anxiety, or a blood clot in the lungs.
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