Dr.’s Tips: Health Symptoms and Warning Signs That Should Never Be Ignored

Dr. Alan Roth; Chairman of Family Medicine

Occasionally we may experience symptoms that we choose to ignore under the assumption that “it’s nothing serious” or “it will pass.”  However, it is important to remember our bodies are designed to provide us with warning signs that alert us when a serious problem is developing.

“There are times when your body is telling you that you need to pay attention and seek medical assistance immediately.  Symptoms can be indicators of disease or conditions that may be potentially life threatening,” shares Dr. Alan Roth, Chairman of Family Medicine at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Ignoring telltale signs can be a detriment to your health. Here are a few health symptoms that you should not take lightly or dismiss:

  • Leg pain with swelling – Swollen legs serve as a symptom of many medical conditions including heart failure. If the heart is not functioning properly, it is unable to circulate blood throughout the body causing blood and other fluids to back up in the veins and store in the limbs.  If the swelling is accompanied by pain, there is a possibility that you have developed a blood clot or deep vein thrombosis.
  • Severe and sudden head pain- These are two common symptoms of a brain aneurysm. This occurs when a blood vessel bursts in the brain and results in intense levels of pain. A sudden and severe headache is also indicative of a stroke.
  • Severe and sudden abdominal pain- This could be a sign that you have an aortic aneurysm that has ruptured. Aneurysms are bulges in the aorta and while they can form anywhere in the body; they are most commonly found in the belly area.  Aortic aneurysms can lead to stroke, blood clots or death.
  • Chest Pain – Intense discomfort of the chest that include pressure or pain are symptoms synonymous with a heart attack. Other symptoms of a heart attack you may experience include: shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting or sweating. Intense chest pain can also be indicative of a condition that is known as aortic dissection, this is caused by a tear in the aorta.
  • Unexplained weight loss- If you have lost more than 5% of your body weight within a period of six months without changing your diet or trying to lose weight, there may be need for concern. Weight loss is a common symptom of several cancers. It is also a symptom that presents itself in people with endocrine disorders and could also be a sign of diabetes.
  • Abdominal discomfort with bloating- In women, if abdominal pain with bloating persists almost daily and consistently for  more than two to three weeks, it is a reason  to raise concern.  The symptoms are common in cases of ovarian cancer. Other symptoms include changes in bowel movement and pressure in the pelvis or lower back.

While some of these symptoms are alarming and others are more subtle, you should always pay attention to changes in your body.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, It is highly recommended that you do not ignore them and seek immediate medical attention, as it can be the difference between life and death in some cases.   To schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-657-7093.