serious medical symptoms!...

Some medical symptoms are warnings that you need immediate care. Like red-light warnings on the car dashboard, the human body sends out signals when something has gone awry. There are many problems that can quietly creep up on you – aches and pains, lumps and bumps. When are they important, when are they not? It happens all the time, a symptom is missed – and it leads to a tragic ending. Or it is caught just in time, and a life is saved – it can often be that dramatic.

Here are six “red-light warnings” you should keep in mind:

1. If you have unexplained weight loss and/or loss of appetite you may have a serious underlying medical illness. If you are on a diet you are expecting this to happen. But if you are eating the same way – and you have to adjust your belt a few notches tighter – you could have a serious problem. With ovarian cancer the opposite is true – fluid builds in the abdomen and women think they are gaining weight. But if you have been at the same weight range for years and doing nothing different see a doctor.

2. Slurred speech, paralysis, weakness, tingling, burning pains, numbness and confusion are signs of a stroke and you should get to an appropriate emergency centre immediately. Early treatment may prevent permanent damage to the brain or even save your life. Slurred speech can often go unnoticed, however you might have a blood clot in a blood vessel going to the brain or bleeding in a blood vessel.

3. Black, tarry stools may indicate a haemorrhage from an ulcer of the stomach or the intestine. It is important to stop the bleeding and to rule out cancer or a bleeding ulcer as a cause. What you eat changes the colour of stools, but black, tarry stools mean there may be bleeding higher in the intestine. 

4. A headache accompanied by a stiff neck and fever is an indicator of a serious infection called  meningitis. If you can’t put your chin on your chest, that is a sign you may have bacterial meningitis. You need antibiotics immediately to kill the bacteria before it infects and scars the brain.

5. A sudden agonising headache, more severe that any you have felt before, could mean you are bleeding in the brain. If you have a severe, crushing headache you may have an aneurysm, which is a blood-filled pouch bulging out from a weak spot in the wall of a brain artery. If treated before it bursts, it could save your life. A brain aneurysm is rare, but it can happen – even in people under 40. See your doctor or go to Accident & Emergency immediately. 

6. For women: Vaginal bleeding after menopause is a warning sign of possible cancer. Some women are in denial when they discover postmenopausal bleeding. Others think it is a little cut, or something in their urine. But bleeding after menopause, is a sign of uterine cancer, & treatable if caught early.

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