It might be a caffeine headache, but it might be an
We asked the experts to tell us five signs that your body is telling you something. And why you should do something about it. (Namely, call your doctor.)
If you're saying the words "worst headache of my life," said Camelia Davtyan, clinical professor of medicine at UCLA, it's time to make a call.
"It may be caused by an aneurysm that can burst and lead to sudden death," said Davtyan.
Or it could be bleeding on the brain, encephalitis,
"The headaches that worry us are ones that start suddenly, like a thunderclap," Miller said. "Especially if it's accompanied by a stiff neck, nausea, fever, bright lights bothering your eyes."
Some chest pain is obvious — and obviously alarming. "A squeezing pressure, elephant-sitting-on-your-chest feeling," said Miller. "You may have nausea and shortness of breath and feel your heart fluttering."
But some symptoms are less noticeable. Miller said to be mindful of how your body recovers from activities you're used to performing.
"If you climb a flight of stairs every day and you usually feel fine, and then one day you get to the top and feel short of breath, panting, a little pressure in your chest, you shouldn't ignore that," he said. "We worry about cardiovascular events, aortic dissections, an impending blockage of a blood vessel in the heart, possibly
"People may think it's heartburn," said Davtyan, "particularly women."
"It may be attributed to digestion problems and ignored," said Davtyan, "But it may be caused by
Pay particular attention to pain that's accompanied by a fever or vomiting.
"If there's a fever or so much pain that you're unable to eat or drink, you've got potential gall bladder diseases, appendicitis, something infectious going on," said Miller.
And be mindful of a recent change in your bowel movements.
"If you're having severe diarrhea or black or bloody stools, it can be a warning sign of an abdominal aneurysm," said Miller. "This is something we get particularly concerned about in our elderly patients because it can also mean low blood flow to the colon. If it's not acted on quickly you can end up needing emergency surgery."
Who among us doesn't have a sore back, right? Sit up and take notice, however, if yours is accompanied by tingling and
"Tingling and numbness don't happen with a simple back strain," said Davtyan. "It may be a disk herniation that can progress if not treated."
"Back pain is probably the most common symptom we see," said Miller. "As with anything, worsening of the symptoms and pain that's escalating are what you want to watch for.
"There could be underlying issues such as
Unexpected weight loss
Few of us are going to complain if our clothes start fitting a little looser, particularly in a nation with a 26 percent
"It's a time to get a really good history of what's been going on, review your symptoms from head to toe and get some blood work done," he said. "Gastrointestinal symptoms can signal malabsorption issues such as
"It can also signal depression or, often in the case of elderly patients, early signs of