Certain symptoms cannot be ignored and should involve a visit to the doctor.
As people age, they get used to pain and discomfort.
When it comes to physical ailments, they increasingly seem to be a part of everyday life to some degree.
Although bodies are not at their peak condition during retirement years, not all pain is simply an effect of aging.
According to a recent AARP article titled “10 Pain Symptoms You Should Never Ignore,” certain symptoms should not be ignored or dismissed.
In fact, they can be signs of serious injuries or conditions that may warrant medical attention.
What symptoms should likely trigger a visit to the emergency room?
Pain with loss of function.
Being able to walk on a leg even when painful usually means there is a minor issue like a sprain.
The combination of immobility and pain, however, is a problem and likely signifies something more serious.
Possible diagnoses could include a fracture, loss of blood flow, serious infection, or a nerve injury.
Eye pain from nowhere.
If you get elbowed in the eye or hit it on the corner of a cabinet (yes, I have done that), you will likely get a bruise.
On the other hand, pain in your eye without a known cause can mean you have internal bleed, a blocked blood vessel, or acute glaucoma.
Acute glaucoma can be especially serious and involves an increase of pressure in the eye.
Eye pain can also be a symptom unrelated to the eye specifically.
Did you know eye pain is an early symptom of shingles?
If you experience seemingly unexplained pain in your eye, you should visit an emergency room.
Chest pain in older adults cannot be ignored.
Instead, those who experience chest pain should seek a doctor evaluation as soon as possible.
Heart attacks are not always known by sudden and acute pain.
Instead, the signs can resemble heaviness or a dull pressure in the chest.
Experiencing fatigue, dizziness, or shortness of breath while doing daily activities (like walking up stairs) can also be a sign of a heart attack.
Blood clots can also move into the lungs or heart and trigger chest pain.
None of these conditions is minor and chest pain symptoms should be taken seriously.
Pain in one or both arms, your jaw, or between the shoulder blades.
Although chest pain is the most commonly known symptom of a heart attack, other symptoms do exist.
Experiencing pain in your jaw, between shoulder blades, or in one or both arms can also signal the onset of an heart attack.
If you are a woman, knowing these symptoms is especially important as they are more common in females.
Additional symptoms of a heart attack are dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, shortness of breath, and vomiting.
Although a severe pain between the shoulder blades is a symptom of a heart attack, it can also be cause by an aneurism in your aorta.
This is serious because the aorta is a major blood vessel.
As such, you should visit the doctor immediately.
A terrible headache.
Some headaches come and go fairly easily.
Headaches with symptoms like weakness, changes in vision, or stiffness in your neck often are connected to more significant problems.
This is especially true if you have hit your head recently.
Simply bumping your head while on blood thinners can lead to bleeding inside your skull.
Severe abdominal pain.
If pain in your abdomen goes beyond an upset stomach and is accompanied by fever, vomiting, or swelling; this can be indicative of greater issues.
These signs are commonly associated with acute appendicitis or diverticulitis and should lead to a doctor visit.
Calf or thigh pain, especially if in just one leg.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur in both legs or simply one leg.
DVT is a dangerous blood clot common in those who are in recovery from a hip or knee surgery.
Because clots can travel through your blood stream and nestle into your lungs, you should seek treatment immediately from a doctor.
When blood clots travel to your lungs and block the blood supply, it creates a potentially fatal condition called a pulmonary embolism.
Pain from a minor wound.
Typically minor cuts and injuries are not serious.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Is your wound swollen and red and getting worse?
If yes, you should get checked by a doctor to ensure it has not turned into a serious infection.
Pain after a procedure or injection.
Common medical procedures like biopsies, spinal injections, or other injections can trigger infection and bleeding.
If you also experience loss of function or persistent pain, you should reach out to your doctor as soon as possible.
Pain with fever.
Fevers and pain often indicate your body is fighting an infection.
Although these infections are not always dangerous, you should seek medical attention if you also experience certain other symptoms.
What other symptoms might indicate a more severe illness?
Pain and swelling in your neck, throat, and mouth should be taken seriously because swelling can inhibit your intake of oxygen.
If you have pain in the lower or upper back, it is possible you have a spinal cord or kidney infection.
Either of these can lead to paralysis if ignored.
If your pain is below a section of inflamed and tender skin, you may have an infection called cellulitis.
If this infection spreads, it can damage other tissues.
Another possibility is having a fluid-filled abscess.
A doctor will need to drain this for you.
Pain around a surgical site also should be a warning.
If your surgery site becomes infected, this typically happens within 30 days of the surgery.
You may even find pus drainage or swelling around your incision.
Although is is unlikely you will experience all of these symptoms as you age, you should contact your doctor immediately as they may be signs of more serious conditions.
In addition to physical ailments, many begin to consider (some for the first time) the “big questions” surrounding life and death when nearing or in retirement.
As one sage observed, age and God conspire together to take away our temporal hope.
I, for one, can attest to that!
Perhaps you are exploring the “big questions”?
Feel free to download it for your study and use.
Reference: AARP (Dec. 29, 2021) “10 Pain Symptoms You Should Never Ignore”