Symptoms of serious health conditions you should never ignore

A man with a headache sits on his couch with his eyes closed, holding a hand to his head.

Paying attention to these early warning signs could save your life

Many of us tend to ignore what we consider “mild” symptoms. Maybe it’s a headache we assume will go away on its own. Maybe we feel overly tired and think that it’s from a busy schedule or a restless night’s sleep. No matter how subtle these symptoms seem, they might actually be signs of dangerous — even life-threatening — conditions.

For example, tingling in your hands or feet could be due to high blood sugar levels affecting circulation.

Here are some common red flags of serious conditions that you should never ignore.

Common warning signs or symptoms of health conditions

Many of these symptoms may start out mild, but they can progress over time. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns or feel like something is off or not right, reach out to your primary care doctor as a first step.

  • Numbness, tingling, or swelling in the hands or feet
  • Vision problems
  • Tiredness that doesn’t go away
  • Unexplained changes in weight
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Persistent cough
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Persistent irritability or mood swings
  • Slow healing cuts or sores
  • Frequent urination

Certain symptoms, such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, sudden and debilitating headache, or dizziness or weakness that doesn’t go away, could be indications of potentially serious or life-threatening conditions. If you experience any of these, call 911 or visit your closest emergency room right away.

Early intervention and proper treatment are key

Chronic health conditions, particularly heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes, don’t typically go away on their own. In fact, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S.1 But by catching signs of disease early and providing effective treatment through lifestyle changes and medication, you can help slow their progression, manage symptoms, and improve your quality of life.

Be your own health advocate

At the end of the day, nobody understands your body better than you. It starts with paying attention when something feels off and taking the initiative to reach out to your doctor for guidance.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a new health condition and are prescribed medication to treat it, our pharmacists at Express Scripts® Pharmacy are ready to help. They are available 24/7 to answer all of your questions and concerns, and to provide you with the information you need to take control of your health.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Chronic Diseases in America (accessed February 16, 2023):

Posted date: May 01, 2023

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