6 Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Most aches and pains are rarely a big deal. But there are a few critical symptoms that you should have checked out as soon as possible. See your doctor if you have any of these things.

Weakness in Your Arms and Legs

If you get numb or weak in your leg, arm, or face, it could be a sign of a stroke. It's especially important if it's on one side of your body or if it comes on without warning.

You could also be having a stroke if you feel dizzy, can't keep your balance, or find it hard to walk. You may also have a sudden bad headache, can't see well, or have problems talking or understanding.

Don't wait to see if symptoms stop. Get emergency help right away, because every moment counts. If you get a drug to break up the clot within 4.5 hours after symptoms start, you'll lower your chances of long-term problems.

If you have heart-related issues like high blood pressure or atrial fibrillation, pay close attention to these symptoms. If you have these conditions, you’re more likely to have a stroke.

Chest Pain

We've all felt chest pain in some form, whether it's a dull throb or a sharp stab. Because it can be a sign of a serious problem, it's important to get medical help right away. Chest pain or pressure can be a sign of a heart attack or heart disease, especially if it happens when you’re active.

People who've had heart-related pain describe it as a burning, full, or tight feeling in the chest. It's sometimes a searing sensation in one or both arms that can move up into the neck, jaw, and shoulders. The discomfort can last for more than a few minutes, get worse when you're active, go away, and then come back.

Often, chest pain doesn't have anything to do with your heart. It could be due to things like heartburn or other digestive issues.

Don't try to tough it out or wait for it to go away. See a doctor right away if you have new or unexplained pain in your chest.

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Tenderness and Pain in the Back of Your Lower Leg

This can be a sign of a blood clot in your leg. It's called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It can happen when you have a condition that affects how your blood clots. You can also get one if you’ve been sitting or confined to bed for a long time. Pregnancy, using birth control pills, smoking, and being overweight also can make it more likely.

If you have a clot, you might feel pain or tenderness. The area might be swollen. Your skin might feel warm, or it could look red.

It isn’t uncommon to be sore after exercise, but get medical help if you notice swelling, warmth, and redness. DVT can be serious. Blood clots in your legs can break off, travel through your bloodstream, and block blood flow to your lungs. Doctors call this a pulmonary embolism, and it can be deadly.

Blood in Your Urine

There are several reasons you might see blood when you pee.

If you have kidney stones, blood can make your urine pink or reddish. These small crystals that form in your urine can cause a lot of pain in your side or your back.

Your doctor may take a CT scan or do an ultrasound to see them. Some kidney stones will pass on their own, but the wait can be painful. You might need a procedure to break up larger ones.

If you see blood in your urine, have to pee more often, or have a burning sensation when you go, you may have a urinary tract infection in your bladder or kidney. Get help right away. This condition can lead to kidney damage and more serious problems.

Blood in your urine can sometimes also be a sign of other illnesses, including bladder or kidney cancer.

Wheezing

If you hear a whistling sound when you breathe, see your doctor right away. Wheezing could be a sign of asthma, a lung disease, a severe allergic reaction, or exposure to chemicals. It could also signal pneumonia or bronchitis.

Treatment depends on the cause. You might need oxygen to help you breathe. If asthma’s to blame, an inhaler could be part of your treatment plan to stop flare-ups. No matter what’s behind your wheezing, you can get short-term relief from sitting in a shower where the air is moist, or using a vaporizer.

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Suicidal Thoughts

If you feel hopeless, like there's no way to solve your problems, reach out for help right away. It can make you feel better to talk to a trained counselor.

Call 911 or a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). It's free and available 24 hours a day. It's private, so you can feel comfortable talking about how you feel.

You can also walk into an emergency room or walk-in clinic and ask for help. A doctor or counselor can refer you to a professional who can help.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on October 22, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

UCSF Health: "Stroke Signs and Symptoms."

Rush University Medical Center: "10 Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore."

Mayo Clinic: "Stroke," "Chest Pain," "Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)," "Suicide and suicidal thoughts."

Cleveland Clinic: "Atrial Fibrillation (Afib)," "Wheezing."

American Heart Association: "Symptoms and Diagnosis of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)."

National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: " Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)," "Kidney Infection."

UpToDate: "Kidney stones in adults (Beyond the Basics)."

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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