October 2012, Vol. 1
eHeartlink is designed to provide general health news and wellness information. This information is not designed to, nor should it, be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or nutrition or exercise program.

5 pains to never ignore

Aches and pains happen, and for the most part, theyíre harmless. But if youíre experiencing sharp pains, sudden discomfort or any other unusual symptoms, you need to seek help right away to make sure. Itís not a good idea to wait and see if symptoms subside or to self-diagnose. Here are five pains you should never ignore:

Chest pain
It could be: heart attack
You may feel pain, pressure, fullness, tightness or squeezing for more than a few minutes, with the pain or discomfort coming and going. However, women are more likely than men to also experience symptoms such as neck, jaw, shoulder or abdominal pain; trouble breathing; nausea, vomiting or heartburn; sweating; lightheadedness; and fatigue. Other possible conditions causing chest pains include panic attacks and lung diseases such as pneumonia or a blood clot in the lungs.

Abdominal pain
It could be: any number of conditions, depending on the location and severity of the pain
Pain that affects most of your abdomen could be a stomach virus or harmless case of indigestion or gas. Pain thatís confined to a particular area of the abdomen and is severe may be related to a problem with one of your organs such as appendicitis, a gallbladder attack, stomach ulcers or reproductive issues such as ectopic pregnancy, an ovarian cyst, pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis. In general, isolated abdomen pain with no other symptoms (that means no rectal bleeding, nausea, fever or vomiting) is unlikely to be a major problem.

Calf pain
It could be: deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
DVT is a blood clot in one of your deep-lying veins and causes sudden calf pain. The symptoms may worsen when you stand or walk. It can also cause a serious complication called pulmonary embolism, in which a blood clot breaks free in the veins and travels to the lungs. Major surgery, a broken hip or leg or a long plane ride can trigger DVT.

Foot or leg pain
It could be: diabetic nerve damage
Shooting pains, burning, tingling or numbness in your extremities could signal diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes causes high blood sugar levels, which, in turn, results in nerve damage. Diabetic neuropathy can also cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, urinary problems and dizziness.