ORLANDO, Fla (KFSN) --For thousands of us, the body sends off subtle signs, but sometimes it's tough to tell if it's minor, or a pending heath crisis. Is it indigestion, or a heart attack? Exhaustion, or something else?
No one wants to be a hypochondriac, imagining the very worst; but on the flip side, you don't want to ignore a potentially dangerous condition. In fact, every year 750 thousand Americans suffer a heart attack. For many the first signs of trouble are very subtle.
"I noticed an irregularity; I would feel tired, sometimes faint," Mary Rademacher shared.
Timothy Hendrix, M.D., is an emergency medicine specialist at Centra Care, Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida. He says what most people think of as the classic sign of a heart attack may really be something else.
"There are a lot of things that can cause chest pain, acid reflux, heart burn, muscle strain." Dr. Hendrix said.
So how can you tell if it is a real emergency?
Dr. Hendrix told Ivanhoe, "If you're having any chest discomfort, radiating pain into an arm or the jaw, difficulty breathing, accompanying with sweats and nausea; all those things are symptoms that would go along with the chest pain, would be a good reason to get that checked right away."
Dr. Hendrix also said excessive daytime sleepiness is another health red flag for a condition that is becoming more common.
Brenda Lepuschitz expressed, "I knew something was going on for years, but I didn't really know. I thought I was just getting old. So tired now."
"It's not about just feeling tired and fatigued, that can be a number of other things. But those nap attacks, that sleepiness that you just can't keep your eyes open, those heavy eyelids in the afternoon." Dr. Hendrix added.
Sleep apnea can raise your risk for high blood pressure and diabetes. It can also put you in danger when driving.
Furthermore, does that itchy rash from an allergic reaction deserve an ER trip? Dr. Hendrix said to try Benadryl first; but if the reaction becomes severe, to act quickly.
Dr. Hendrix explained, "They'll get that tickle in their throat and pretty soon if they're finding it hard to talk or hard to breathe you need to call 911 immediately."
Lastly, what do headaches tell you? Dr. Hendrix said when the headache is accompanied with fever, vomiting, neck pain or it's the worst headache in your life it could be a tumor, or a serious infection like meningitis and it needs immediate attention.