The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world through a combination of impact and scale, deeply changing the way we live, eat and think. Of all that has changed, the approach to seek and avail healthcare tops the list for many. Fear of infection has made most of us ignore other diseases and ailments in order to avoid visits to hospitals.
Recent data shows outpatient cases and emergency care too have plummeted due to the virus. It is only in cases of life-threatening diseases that people have been visiting hospitals or doctors’ chambers. The medical fraternity has shown concern regarding this fear among people by saying that delaying or avoiding treatment can aggravate conditions. For instance, if a diabetic person who goes for regular monthly check-ups suddenly stops doing so in an effort to reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, he or she can get complications of high blood sugar, or if over-medicating, low blood sugar or hypoglycemia which is a dreaded complication.
Similarly pregnant women not going for regular check-ups can end up with problems that could have been avoided or managed better like pre-eclampsia and others. Hypertension patients lacking follow-ups can get stroke. Those with undiagnosed bleeding can end up with severe anaemia in absence of medical intervention. Medical experts across the globe are constantly encouraging people to keep doctors’ appointments and monitor health as they feel that delaying required medical care could have serious ramifications.
In this blog, we have listed the six crucial symptoms that you must not ignore during this ongoing pandemic and for which you must seek immediate medical attention –
1. Chest pain
Chest pain is a serious concern and varies in intensity, location as well as duration. It may occur like a stabbing pain, or a dull ache. It may also be a sign of a serious heart-related problem. While most people think having chest pain means they are going to have a cardiac arrest, it can also happen due to some less serious conditions.
According to the National Center for Health Studies (NCHS), nearly 13% of emergency visits for chest pain lead to a diagnosis of serious cardiac problems. However, chest pain can also occur due to gastrointestinal causes like acid reflux, or heartburn, gallstones, and inflammation or from lung-related causes like Pneumonia, viral bronchitis, blood clot or bronchospasm, amongst others.
2. Sudden uncontrolled bleeding
Bleeding can happen due to injury, cut or sudden nosebleed. It is important to know that if your bleeding does not stop in 15 minutes, it needs immediate medical care. Uncontrolled bleeding after trauma can lead to death. That said in some neurological cases blood is not readily apparent, but there will be signs suggestive of a stroke. So if you are bleeding from any part of your body or having symptoms, waste no time in seeking medical advice. This will help not only to stop the bleeding but also to find out the underlying cause of it in order to treat it effectively.
If you or anyone in the family get/s a sudden seizure, it’s extremely critical to seek medical help. Most seizures are curable through medication, but a timely check-up and complete neurological assessment will help in identifying the cause. In some cases, seizures happen due to very high fever, a blow to the head, stroke, or brain tumour. However, some medication side effects as well as low blood sodium levels can also lead to seizures.
4. Weakness in body parts, neurological problems or unconsciousness
Weakness happens if your muscles lose strength. However, even if you have normal muscle strength you can feel weak due to fatigue or if your movement is restricted due to pain or joint stiffness. In such cases it is nothing serious. But weakness of muscles is a cause of concern as it might be from nervous system malfunction which needs medical intervention.
Causes of weakness can include – recovery from serious illness, long periods of inactivity, low level of potassium (hypokalemia), alcoholism, or use of corticosteroids, nerve damage, ruptured disk in the spine, cancer that has spread to the spinal cord, or multiple sclerosis.
5. Sudden or severe pain
Never ignore a sudden or severe pain. In most cases it has an underlying serious condition. You need to be more careful if the pain doesn’t go away quickly. Sudden abdominal pain could be due to appendicitis, rupture of ovarian cysts, punctured ulcer, or kidney or stuck gallstones. For any kind of sudden, severe and persistent pain, it’s advisable to seek medical help right away.
Many of us experience routine headache which goes away on its own or after taking over-the-counter medicines. That said, if the headache is a result of you hitting your head with anything or is accompanied by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or slurred speech, you should immediately seek medical attention. Also in case, your headache is more severe than what you normally experience, you must take a doctor’s opinion as this could be due to an oncoming migraine or something even more complex including a brain bleed from an aneurysm or stroke.
Other than the above mentioned six symptoms, another condition that you should be careful of is, difficulty in speaking or slurred speech, which when new or sudden could be a stroke. Besides, symptoms like difficulty breathing, which while a known symptom of COVID-19, could also be due to severe lung infection, complications of heart problems also need to be immediately medically examined.
Seeking medical advice in case of any of these symptoms is important to stay safe and healthy. While fear of virus infection is understandable, ignoring health concerns by avoiding doctor appointments or follow ups, means inviting health emergencies. This might lead to more complex, long term and at times far more expensive medical procedures. If you’re unsure about the seriousness of your symptoms, there is always the option to reach out for a telemedicine appointment with a doctor. This option lets you access a doctor from the safety of your home at a time of your need.
DocGenie is an online telemedicine platform that provides you with quality healthcare from the comfort of your own space. On DocGenie, you will find a select few, highly-qualified doctors, unlike other online platforms with thousands of doctors. So you can be assured of receiving excellent, honest, personalized care from the best doctors.
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