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When Health Symptoms Become Red Flags

By Sandy Schroeder

When it comes to my health, I am an optimist. If the sun is shining and I am enjoying my favorite breakfast, everything seems OK, but I do believe in being cautious when I have sudden changes or persistent new symptoms. 

Monitoring health symptoms can spot red flags that need a doctor's attention. Chest pain, sudden loss of vision or speech and severe abdominal pain require immediate medical attention. Mayo Clinic tells us the following signs should also be seen by a doctor.  

Persistent or high fever - Fevers fight infection but persistent ones can signal more serious diseases or conditions such as a UTI or strep throat. See your doctor if you have a 103 F fever or one that lasts more than three days. 

Unexplained shortness of breath - Extreme heat, intense exercise, overweight or high altitude can trigger shortness of breath. If there are no triggers, and shortness of breath comes on suddenly and is severe, seek emergency help. Get help immediately. Bronchitis, heart or lung issues, asthma, or a blood clot in the lungs all require emergency care. Call 911 or paramedics. 

Unexpected loss of weight - If you do not have a body mass index of 30 or higher or you have lost more than 10 pounds or five percent of your body weight in the last 6 to 12 months, see your doctor.  An overactive thyroid condition, diabetes, depression, cancer or liver disease could cause weight loss. 

Personality changes or confusion - It you suddenly have difficulty focusing, repeated muddled thinking or trouble maintaining normal routines, infection, poor diet, medications or other mental issues could be causing the problem. Don't ignore the problem. It could be be solved quickly or need more attention.  Get assistance to stay safe and  see your doctor.   

Unusual fullness - If you feel full sooner than usual after eating, see your doctor to review all of your symptoms. Bloating, weight loss or nausea may also occur. These symptoms can occur with reflux disease, ulcers or more serious problems such as pancreatic cancer.  

Bright spots of light flashes - This could be a migraine or signal retinal detachment which requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent vision loss. 

Maintain regular checkups - Seeing your doctor for routine checkups helps avoid emergencies, but never ignore sudden changes in your health. Get help and go into ER for immediate attention. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Atlanta, Ga. 

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