Our health is far too easy to let slip by the wayside. Often, it’s a sudden scare that makes us think about our health in a way nothing else can. While most illnesses and symptoms can be cured with extra water and rest, some are more serious and require urgent care from a qualified physician. That’s because certain signs and health symptoms are red flags for dangerous and potentially life-threatening medical conditions, like heart attacks and strokes. A sudden or severe onset of these symptoms should be heeded as a warning. Don’t wait for them to subside on their own. Instead, make a phone call right away or have a trusted friend or family member drive you to a hospital or urgent care center. Remember: it’s always better to find out later that it wasn’t a big deal than to wind up dead or seriously ill.
Chest Pain or Tightness
Nearly 48% of African American women and 44% of African American men have some form of heart disease. Most people are aware that chest pain and tightness is a sign of a heart attack, though there are many other reasons why you might have a feeling of pain and tightness in your chest, such as anxiety or panic attack. If you also feel like you can’t breathe no matter how hard you try to draw in more oxygen, it’s imperative that you call an ambulance and get to the hospital as soon as you can.
If the pain comes on suddenly and isn’t relieved by switching positions, taking antacids, or resting, it may be a heart attack, particularly if other symptoms accompany this like dizziness or a changed heart rate.
An Unrelenting Headache
Problems with our nervous system, heart, and brain have some of the highest potential for long-term problems or fatal damage. A headache that comes on suddenly and feels like the worst headache you’ve ever had in your life may be a sign you’re having a stroke. Seek medical attention right away.
The sooner you’re seen by a medical professional after a stroke, the higher your chances you’ll retain full health and functionality afterwards. The sooner your doctor can relieve bleeding in the brain, the better.
Other causes of severe headache might include meningitis, a serious bacterial infection that needs medical attention. Early diagnosis is critical to prevent the infection from festering and spreading, so a bad headache is always a cause to see your doctor.
Changes in Mental State
We all feel a little out of sorts mentally every now and then, but a sudden shift is a cause for concern. A sudden feeling of confusion or disorientation is a red flag. You might not know where you are or what time it is. Symptoms like these may be difficult to notice in yourself, but others may be able to pick up on your confusion.
There are a range of problems associated with sudden onset of confusion. These range from herniated discs in the back to infections throughout the body. It’s important that you help anyone with this symptom quickly, especially if they ingested any medications within the past few hours.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. After seeking medical attention, these conditions can be monitored by your primary physician or specialist. Connect2heal.com is the best online resource to connect black, indigenous and people of color with physicians, specialists and therapist with similar or the same racial or cultural backgrounds.
Finding a therapist or health care provider you’re comfortable with can be difficult. Provider’s bias does exist and that is exactly why we created this platform. Our goal is to make it easier to find a provider of color so you can worry less about finding the right doctor, and focus more on improving or maintaining your health.