The health of our residents is a top consideration at Discovery Village at Deerwood retirement communities in Florida. We provide foods and activities specifically for the purpose of promoting good health. Our residents are also encouraged to follow their doctors’ orders, and there are some symptoms that physicians almost universally agree should not be ignored. While not every ache and pain needs to be a cause for concern, the following symptoms are possible signs of serious or life-threatening conditions and should be checked out by medical professionals as soon as possible:
One – Chest Pain
If you feel searing discomfort in your chest, including painful pressure or heaviness, you could be experiencing a heart attack. Other symptoms that may accompany chest pain are:
- Pain radiating down one arm
- Shortness of breath
Women tend to experience more subtle symptoms of a heart attack, such as extreme fatigue or a burning sensation in the upper abdominal area. Other symptoms include jaw pain and severe upper back pain.
Many of the symptoms associated with a heart attack are also experienced when gastrointestinal reflux disease flairs up or as a result of an esophageal spasm.
Two – A Debilitating Headache
If you suddenly experience an extremely painful and severe headache, it is possible that you have a brain aneurysm. An aneurysm is a weakness in the artery wall that supplies blood to the brain. The artery becomes enlarged because of the aneurysm and applies pressure on your brain. If the artery ruptures, you could experience a stroke or could die as a result of bleeding in the brain. Immediately call 9-1-1 if you experience this kind of headache.
If you routinely begin experiencing headaches and they develop suddenly, you may have problems with your eyesight, a brain tumor, or other possible health issues. See a doctor as soon as possible, though the situation is not as critically urgent as suffering from an aneurysm.
Three – Numbness
If you feel weakness, tingling, or numbness in your hands or feet, it is possible that a bulging or herniated disk is pressing on a nerve, compressing it. If that is the problem, the pressure can end up causing permanent neurological damage. Consult with an orthopedist or a neurologist, who will determine the best treatment options. Symptoms sometimes clear up on their own, but the following are among treatments used, when needed:
- Physical therapy
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Alternating application of ice and heat
- Cortisone injection
Four – Leg Pain Accompanied by Swelling
Do not hesitate to go to an emergency room or to see your doctor if you experience swelling in your calf that is painful and tender to the touch. These symptoms are an indication of a blood clot, which can be extremely dangerous. You could die if the clot were to move from your leg and travel to your lung because the clot could prevent the needed oxygen supply from getting to your lung. Approximately 200,000 people are killed in this way, by pulmonary embolisms, every year. When these symptoms are treated quickly, the mortality rate is below 10%. Treatment includes blood thinners and close monitoring. Hours of immobility, such as on a lengthy airline flight, can make a person more susceptible to blood clots. Other symptoms of a blood clot include:
- Discoloration of the legs
- Veins being more visible
- Warm area on the leg
- Shortness of breath
Leg pain can also be the first sign of malignant cancer or other underlying medical conditions.
Five – Severe Abdominal Pain
If you begin to experience sudden or severe stomach pain, it is recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible. There are numerous possibilities as to what the problem could be, however. A possible life-threatening condition is that an aortic aneurysm could have ruptured. Other possibilities follow:
- The pain could be an indication of a perforated viscus or a hole in a hollow organ such as the intestine or stomach. Ulcers are usually the cause. The condition is potentially life-threatening.
- If blood flow to the intestines stops or slows significantly, starving tissues of oxygen, you could be suffering from intestinal ischemia. This condition is also potentially life-threatening.
- It is not uncommon for gallstones to be the cause of abdominal pain. Gallstones are pebble-like deposits lodged in a gallbladder duct, and they cause sharp pain, vomiting, and nausea. There are numerous treatment options available, including surgical gallbladder removal.
The list of conditions commonly suffered by seniors is a long one, but not all are life-threatening. At Discovery Village at Deerwood retirement community in Florida, you are in a setting that helps to promote health. We urge all of our residents not to hesitate if health symptoms include any of the above and others that could be an indication of a serious health problem.