You hear too many terrifying stories that involve someone falling ill or worse because they ignored something they had felt might be a red flag. The excuses are limitless: you don’t have the time to go to the doctor, you’re sure it’s normal, you’re blowing things out of proportion. You may not realize it through excuses, but these red flags are your body talking to you and it’s critical to your health that you listen. Here are 8 warning signs that if experienced should never be ignored.
1 . Severe Headaches
If you’ve been experiencing splitting headaches – and we’re talking jackhammer-in-you-head type headaches – it may be easy to brush off as a migraine. However, these severe headaches could be more than a chronic condition, they could be hinting toward a brain aneurysm.
What To Look For: The thing about migraines is that they come with more than headaches, other symptoms (like visual aura) should accompany a migraine. If this is not the case and you’re experiencing splitting headaches minus these additional migraine symptoms, you need to get to the doctor immediately.
2. Sharp Abdominal Pain
This depends very much on where you’re feeling this sharp pain. If the pain is in your side, you might be thinking it’s a cramp or gas. But if it’s more than just a little tweak and you’re imagining yourself being skewered by a spear of some sort…then yeah, it’s not just a cramp, it may be that you’re suffering from appendicitis
What To Look For: Nausea and a fever are sure signs of appendicitis. Although this is fairly common, if you’re appendix becomes irritated and bursts, it will cause severe pain and medical complications if it is not removed ASAP.
Another issue that might cause this type of pain would be an ovarian cyst. These cysts are harmless, but if ruptured they can cause terrible pain.
3. Burning in the Hands or Feet
Pins and needles are a common sensation. But if this happens regularly or if the sensation is more of a burning pain in your hands or feet, you should make an appointment with your doctor, as you may be developing chronic circulation issues that could cause nerve damage. This may not be as life-threatening as other red flags, but it’s important nonetheless.
What To Look For: Tingling or burning in your appendages that lasts for a few minutes at a time. To save your nerve endings from lasting damage, consult your doctor straightaway.
4. Leg Pain with Swelling
If your calf is tender, swollen, red or warm to the touch, you could be experiencing a blood clot. If you’re sitting in one position for a while (think a long day at the office or an international flight), you may start to notice these painful symptoms. Women on the Pill or who smoke have an increased risk of clotting.
What To Look For: Constant, distracting leg pain or swelling above the ankle are key signs. Fight the urge to massage your leg or walk off the pain – get to the doctor. If you loosen the clot it could move into the arteries and cause severe damage.
Feeling suddenly tired doing day-to-day activities? It could be a lack of sleep or stress, but it could also be a warning sign of a cardiac condition, as well.
What To Look For: Doing regular activities tuckers you out and you have no energy for no apparent reason. Make an appointment with your doctor immediately. There are a lot of reasonable, non-life-threatening explanations, but if you do have a cardiac condition, you need to start treating it immediately. Better safe than sorry.
6. Abruptly Losing Weight
Although we may consider this a good thing in some cases, it’s important to keep track of how much weight you are losing, especially if you’re not actively trying to lose weight. This seemingly “positive” change can mean detrimental conditions such as cancer, depression, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and several other disorders.
What To Look For: If you’ve lost 5% of your weight over 6-12 months without any intentional attempts to do so, consult with your doctor immediately.
7. Bleeding or Sore Gums
Your friends and family might advise, “You’re brushing your teeth too hard!” Potentially, but gum bleeding or soreness could also be a signal that you have a gum disease. Not only that, but sore/bleeding gums are a warning sign for diabetes and other underlying diseases.
What To Look For: Bleeding, tender gums throughout the day are a giveaway sign. Having constant dry mouth and fruity-smelling breath are other signs that you may have diabetes.
8. Chest Pain
If you feel like you’re having intense, passing heartburn or like every once in a while you’re chest is suddenly being constricted, it could be more serious than you’d imagine.
If you’ve just had a burrito and you’re feeling a little gassy, that’s one thing. But if you’re feeling like a boa constrictor is wrapping its way around your chest every so often, you didn’t just eat something too greasy or go too hard at the gym. You may experiencing a heart attack.
What To Look For: This intense, constricting pain is the first sign, along with fatigue, shortness of breath and a swollen throat. 10,000 women under 45 have a heart attack every year, most commonly while working up a sweat. Be aware of your body while you exercise and call 911 immediately if you feel this passing chest pain.
Do you know of any crucial warning signs that should never be ignored? Share your knowledge in the comments section below.