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Legatus Magazine

Cover Story
Susan Locke | author
Oct 01, 2011
Filed under Your Health

15 symptoms not to ignore

Here are some very helpful tips from our friends at Healthnetwork Foundation . . .

We often wonder whether symptoms will go away on their own or whether they should be attended to immediately. Here are some symptoms that require medical attention, some more urgently than others.

1. Chest pain. If the pain goes away with an antacid, it’s less likely to be related to the heart. Pain that is a dull, pressure-like sensation with or without pain running down the left arm should be evaluated immediately.

2. Shortness of breath. If you are unable to catch your breath or find yourself gasping and wheezing, these symptoms may need to be evaluated.

3. Sudden weakness, loss of vision or speech. These symptoms could be signs of a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) and should be evaluated immediately.

4. Severe headaches. These symptoms require medical attention: Sudden onset of a severe headache “like a clap of thunder,” headache accompanied by fever, stiff neck, rash, confusion or seizures — or a one-sided headache near the temple in a middle-aged person.

5. Abdominal pain. The characteristics of the pain are important: Is it related to eating? Where does it radiate? What makes it feel worse? Is it positional? Abdominal pain that persists more than a few hours warrants a call to your doctor.

6. Delirium. Sudden confusion and rapid changes in your mental state should be assessed quickly.

7. Flashes of light. These may indicate retinal detachment and treatment should be sought immediately.

8. Persistent or high fever. Temperatures over 102°F for three days or high fevers over 104°F require medical attention.

9. Hot, red, swollen joint. This could be a joint infection, which should be treated immediately. It could also be a sign of gout or arthritis.

10. Unexplained weight loss. A loss of 10% of your weight within six months unrelated to dieting should be discussed with a medical professional.

11. Unexplained change in bowel habits. The presence of these symptoms may require medical attention: blood, black or tarry stools, extended periods of constipation or diarrhea.

12. Bruising and bleeding. If you have spontaneous, recurrent bruising or unusual bleeding that will not stop, please seek medical attention.

13. New moles or change in appearance of old moles. Changes in color, shape or size could indicate a skin cancer.

14. Early satiety. Seek medical attention if you have feelings of being full after eating smaller portions than usual, especially if accompanied by nausea, vomiting or bloating.

15. Sadness/loss of interest in life. Depression is treatable and care may begin with your primary care physician.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that require immediate medical assistance, please go directly to the emergency room and/or call 911.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork Foundation’s medical director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a health care “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. One Call Starts It All: (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. Email:


A Legate says ‘Thank you’…

Charles LiMandri

Our experience with Healthnetwork and Scripps Health was excellent. My wife was in extreme pain when I called Healthnetwork for her. Through your efforts, Scripps got her in to see a top specialist in the field within hours. As a result, she is recovering nicely and is now practically pain free.

The service that Healthnetwork provided was truly exceptional. We could not have been more impressed with the treatment that we received. May God continue to bless you in your fine work!

Charles S. LiMandri
San Diego Chapter Member,
Legatus Board of Governors


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