The sudden death of actress Natasha Richardson not only came as a tragic shock but as a warning to all that seemingly mild symptoms can sometimes be fatal. True, no one wants to rush off to the ER at the first sign of every ailment so a little knowledge goes a long way. Below are some dangerous symptoms you canít afford to ignore.
1. Horrible Headache
If youíre experiencing a headache worse that any youíve had before–get to the doctor. This is a symptom of brain bleeding and could be the beginning signs of an aneurysm. If your headache is accompanied by stiffness and you canít move your neck, meningitis could be a possible culprit and youíll need antibiotics immediately to prevent permanent damage.
2. Intense Stomach Pain
Do you still have your appendix? Donít take the chance that it may rupture–head to the ER immediately. An appendix could rupture as soon as 48 to 72 hours after symptoms start. The infection from a ruptured appendix is very serious can be life-threatening.
3. Pins and Needles Feeling in Your Legs or Feet
According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes and one-quarter of those are undiagnosed. Elevated blood sugar levels could damage your circulatory and nervous systems, lead to full-blown diabetes and eventually life-threatening complications if not treated.
4. Slurred Speech, paralysis, confusion and numbness
All are signs of a potential stroke. Run, donít walk to the ER. Catching the warning signs early on could prevent permanent damage to your brain.
5. Pain and Swelling in Your Calf.
Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT is a potentially fatal problem that strikes more than 600,000 people a year just in the U.S. If you’re a smoker, just had surgery, are obese, or have been sitting still for over three hours you could be at risk. If your symptoms appeared suddenly, and have lasted a few hours see your doctor as soon as possible. If youíre having shortness of breath, chest pain, or difficulty breathing–a clot may have traveled to your lungs. So, get to the ER immediately.
6. Chest Pain
Chest pain is the most common symptom ER docs see and one of the most important. Fifty percent of deaths from heart attacks happen within the first four hours, so get to the ER quickly. Chest pain doesn’t always signal a heart attack but it is still worth the time spent to have it checked out.
7. Shortness of breath.
Most of us feel a little breathless after climbing a flight of stairs, but if you’re gasping for air when laying or sitting down, it’s a possible sign of heart failure. Other causes are asthma, anxiety or a blood clot in the lungs.
By Veronica Peterson, Editor, Healthy & Green Living