Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report newsletter, is chief of the Cardiac Transplant Program at the world-renowned Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He practices interventional, vascular, and transplant cardiology. Dr. Crandall received his post-graduate training at Yale University School of Medicine, where he also completed three years of research in the Cardiovascular Surgery Division. Dr. Crandall regularly lectures nationally and internationally on preventive cardiology, cardiology healthcare of the elderly, healing, interventional cardiology, and heart transplants. Known as the “Christian physician,” Dr. Crandall has been heralded for his values and message of hope to all his heart patients.

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These Symptoms Are Serious

Tuesday, 19 Apr 2011 10:50 AM


We all experience minor aches and pains from time to time. But there are some symptoms that should never be ignored because they signal a need for immediate help. For instance, a nagging headache is a nuisance that can be caused by any number of things. In contrast, a sudden, severe headache — the likes of which you’ve never felt before — is a serious symptom indicating a serious problem. In such a case, calling 9-1-1 could actually save your life.

Here’s a short list of other symptoms you ignore at your own peril:

• Chest pain; shortness of breath; pain in the neck, arm, or jaw; cold sweat and weakness or nausea. These can be symptoms of a heart attack even if you aren’t feeling any pain. Call 9-1-1 and go to the hospital by ambulance for the fastest treatment.

• Slurred speech; sudden vision problems; weakness or tingling on one side of the body; dizziness. These are all symptoms of a stroke. Again, if you experience these symptoms, you must call 9-1-1 so that an ambulance can transport you to a qualified stroke center. Time is of the essence because clot-busting drugs are most effective during the first few hours the stroke occurs.

• Blood in the urine, even without pain. Lack of pain does not necessarily mean lack of seriousness. Sometimes blood in the urine indicates a cancer that is causing bleeding into the urinary tract. This may be painless. However, it may be the only symptom that can lead to an early diagnosis. Call the doctor even if it happens only once.

• Pain or discomfort in the back of the lower leg; shortness of breath; coughing up blood; chest pain. These are symptoms of a blood clot in the leg. This can happen after sitting for a long time in a car or airplane, or if you recently had surgery. The clot will make the leg very tender, but if combined with chest pain or breathing problems, it may have already broken off and traveled to the lungs. If this happens, you have to get emergency treatment right away.

• Asthma symptoms that don’t improve or get worse. People with asthma may think they have to just “hang in there” because they have symptoms on a regular basis. But letting the attack go on and on results in lowered oxygen levels and a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. This has a sedating effect on the brain. A person may then seem to be relaxing and breathing better when they are actually at the point of respiratory fatigue. This condition can be fatal. Go to the emergency room.


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