It’s easy to overthink and panic about every sensation and potential health symptom. Afterall, a single internet search can make you convinced you have a rare and serious condition. But it’s also all too common for people to dismiss ongoing health symptoms and avoid seeking medical advice until they are severely ill. Whichever category you tend to fall into, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to health.
Sometimes it’s easy to know the cause of pain or worrying symptoms, for example after an injury or accident. But other times we can experience distressing symptoms seemingly out of the blue. For children, the elderly, and those with disabilities, it can be difficult to assess the severity of an individual’s discomfort.
To help clarify when it’s appropriate to be concerned, here we will take a look at some serious health symptoms you should never ignore.
Chest pain and shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is an unnerving feeling, and it’s one a lot of us are familiar with. However, if you suddenly feel unable to breathe properly and this isn’t relieved by resting, it could be a symptom of a serious health condition. When accompanied by chest pain, you should seek urgent medical attention to rule out heart attack, blood clots, or a severe asthma attack. Nausea, sweating and pain in the neck, jaw and/or limbs alongside shortness of breath can also be symptoms of a heart attack and need immediate medical care.
It’s important to note that everyone experiences pain differently, and symptoms may appear less severe in those with disabilities or the very young or elderly, who are less able to communicate their feelings. When in doubt, it’s always safer to get medical attention as soon as possible for anyone who is experiencing breathing difficulties or chest pain.
Sudden and severe pain
Excruciating pain that comes on suddenly is always a symptom not to ignore. In the abdomen or torso, this could signal a number of internal conditions that require urgent hospital treatment such as appendicitis, internal infections or issues with the spinal cord.
If you or someone you’re with ever experiences a headache that’s so severe they cannot perform any normal activities, seek advice immediately. Severe headaches accompanied by stiffness in the neck, vision changes and fever may indicate meningitis. Weakness in the limbs or slurring of words often present in those experiencing a stroke. Call for an ambulance immediately in this instance, as when it comes to symptoms of a stroke, the faster the health professionals can intervene, the better the outcome for the patient.
Sometimes, the health symptoms you shouldn’t ignore aren’t just the acute and severe kind. If you are experiencing unusual symptoms such as being tired, hungry or thirsty constantly, losing weight without trying or noticing changes in your skin or vision, you should seek medical advice.
No matter the ongoing symptom or its severity, if it’s something that is lasting for more than a few days then it’s always worth getting checked over to rule out any health conditions. Serious health problems often develop slowly over a period of time, so it’s far better to seek help sooner than later.