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Adult Emergencies!

When to go to the hospital for help

Jacqueline Todorov

Unlike children, adults tend not to go to the emergency department as a result of an accident. As a nurse, I have seen many adults rushed to the hospital by ambulance though, because they did not listen to their body's early warnings, and eventually became quite ill. Some incidents occurred with no warning but most did get at least one warning of a sudden illness. This article will give you some signals that your body may send you to warn you of two common adult health problems. If you listen to your body and catch the condition early, both can be managed.

Heart Disease

The principle symptoms of heart disease are pounding of the heart (palpitation), shortness of breath (dyspnea), swelling of the legs(edema), fainting (syncope) and pain. Coughing, spitting up of blood, and weakness may occur. None of these symptoms occur only in heart disease but if you or someone near you has some of them it would be a good idea to see a doctor.

Chest pain, precipitated by walking and relieved by rest is characteristic of angina pectoris and usually stems from heart disease, especially of the coronary arteries. The pain strikes anywhere in the upper half of the body, but most commonly in the center of the chest. Use of the arms, or a strong emotion often precipitates the pain, and cold weather or eating may bring it on more quickly. Mild shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating may accompany the pain.

These are your clues that it is time to see the doctor. Better to go and have it checked out than to find yourself having a heart attack with know one around to help. Medicine can help minimize the damage of heart disease and manage it's symptoms if you see your doctor in time.

Diabetes

Early onset diabetes sometimes appears during a period of stress such as illness, but in most cases, no precipitating condition can be identified. The disease usually starts in childhood, including the teens, or less commonly during young adulthood. It can be heralded by fatigue and weakness. The young victim may urinate frequently and be compelled to get up during the night to do so. Thirst may be constant, accompanied by increased appetite. But despite "eating like a horse" the new diabetic loses weight. The young person may notice muscle cramps or blurred vision, and may suffer from lingering infections or slow healing wounds.

Late onset diabetes has the symptoms of frequent urination, excessive thirst, and increased appetite, but they are less common that in juvenile diabetes. Instead, the mature onset diabetic may suffer urinary or skin infections, especially yeast infections in the vagina (causing itching and a whitish discharge) or red itchy irritation in the groins, armpits, and under the breasts. Sometimes small, raised reddish-yellow spots appear on the skin because of increased fat in the blood. Some persons develop numbness and burning or tingling of the hands, feet, or legs. A few suffer blurry vision or frequently have their eyeglass prescription changed. And like juvenile diabetics, many adult-onset diabetics feel tired and run down.

These symptoms, especially in combination, should lead one to consult a doctor. Diabetes is common, easy to test for, and easy to treat. Prompt treatment may minimize complications and reduced risk of associated diseases of the eye, kidney, and nervous system.

This ends this issue's Health columns on First Aid and common family emergencies and medical conditions. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to mail me, care of Domestic-Church.Com.

Take care, Jackie

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