We don't always feel 100 percent all the time, and it's normal to feel a little nauseous, tired, or sniffly every once in a while. These are minor symptoms though, and usually go away on their own. But there are a few red flag signals our bodies flash to warn us of serious medical conditions, and they're symptoms you shouldn't pass off as nothing. WebMD spoke to the authors of Your Body's Red Light Warning Signals, and here are some symptoms that require a doctor's visit or emergency care.
- Difficulty breathing. Tightness in the chest, wheezing, shallow breathing, or constantly coughing are all symptoms of asthma. If a person has these symptoms or full-on asthma attacks, and they're left untreated, the muscles used for breathing can get tired. That means the amount of oxygen getting into the lungs will decrease, while the levels of carbon dioxide increase. This has a drowsing effect on the brain, and the person may stop breathing, which could result in death.
- Blood in your urine. When you go to the bathroom, you shouldn't see blood, and if you do, it could be a sign of kidney stones, bladder infections, or cancer of the kidney, urethra, or bladder. Even if you don't feel pain, call your doctor.
To see the other red flags keep reading.
- Unexplained tenderness or swelling in the back of your leg. When you've been sitting for a while, like on a long trip, or have been bedridden after surgery, blood can pool in your legs forming a blood clot. Your calf will feel swollen and tender, and if it's accompanied by chest pains, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood, a piece of the blood clot may have broken off and traveled to your lungs. This condition could be life-threatening so get to the ER immediately. Blood clots can happen to anyone.
- Chest pains. If this is coupled with pain in the arm, jaw, or neck, weakness, or shortness of breath, these are all signs of a heart attack. It's also common not to have pain, and women and the elderly tend to only have dizziness, a pounding heart, heavy sweating, difficulty breathing, and nausea. So be aware of all these symptoms and go to the emergency room ASAP.
- Tingling, numbness, confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, or weakness on one side of the body. These are signs that oxygen has been blocked to the brain, otherwise known as a stroke. If you have these symptoms, you require treatment as soon as possible to prevent brain tissue from dying, which could result in permanent brain injury.
The bottom line is that listening to your body and getting your symptoms checked out could save your life.