Monday, June 23, 2008

Medical Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

Most people realize they need to seek immediate medical attention if they are bleeding profusely from an obvious wound or experiencing the chest pains, dizziness, and shortness of breath that can signal a heart attack. However, there are other symptoms that may indicate a serious medical condition, requiring immediate attention:

Sudden Severe Headache

A blindingly severe headache can indicate an aneurysm in the brain - a spot where a weakened blood vessel bulges outward. Treating a blood vessel before it bursts can prevent disability or save your life. A sudden intensely agonizing headache is sufficient reason to seek immediate medical attention.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Losing weight without a change in your eating or exercise habits can signal a serious underlying medical condition. Similarly, an unexplained ongoing loss of appetite may be a symptom of illness.

Symptoms of a Stroke

People tend to take the classic symptoms of a heart attack more seriously than the often more subtle signs of a stroke. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience slurred speech, tingling, numbness, confusion, paralysis, weakness, and/or burning pain. Early treatment can often prevent permanent damage.

Headache with a Fever and Stiff Neck

These symptoms may indicate meningitis. Quick treatment of bacterial meningitis may save your life and prevent scarring of nervous tissue.

Black Stools

Black stools with a tar-like consistency may indicate bleeding in the stomach or small intestine. It's important to identify the cause of the hemorrhage. Bleeding ulcers and intestinal cancer can cause this symptom.

Men: Lump in the Testicles

A testicular lump can be a symptom of testicular cancer. Even as it is recommended that women perform routine breast self-exams, men should perform periodic exams of their testicles.

Women: Postmenopausal Bleeding

Vaginal bleeding after menopause may signify uterine cancer. The cancer is treatable if it is caught early enough, but many women tend to discount this symptom.

Seek medical attention for these symptoms. Although the symptoms themselves may seem minor, they can indicate a serious illness. A check-up can give you peace of mind or even save your life.

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