Early Warning Signs in Clinical Practice

Doctors1Dr. (Mrs) Neena S Menon

Early detection means an early cure. Knowing the early signs of common diseases and condition, for fast recognition and cure. In emergency medical situations, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Following are some of the conditions which can be detected by early warning signs :

Diabetes– There will be weight loss, excessive thirst, excessive hunger, excessive urination-[polyuria, polyphagia, polydipsia]; tendency towards skin disorders; tendency towards infections[genital]; less frequently numbness, blurred vision, impotence, leg cramps etc.

Cancer– There will be persistent cough or hoarseness, difficult swallowing and/or indigestion, a sore that does not heal, a change in bladder and/or bowel habits (alternate constipation and diarrhoea), a change in mole or wart, thickening or lump in breast or other parts of body; unusual discharge or bleeding.

Glaucoma– (increase in eyeball pressure). By the time visual loss is noticed it is too late to regain lost vision. Early warning signs are poor night vision, headache, vomiting, seeing halos or rainbows around lights, blind spots, hard and painful eyeball, narrowing field of vision etc.

Brain Tumor– Disturbance in balance, sight, smell; unexplained weakness in extremities, headache (especially if you never get headache; may start in early morning and become severe; or headaches may be very mild); persistent nausea and/or vomiting convulsions; personality or emotional disorders etc.

Transient Ischaemic Attack– warning signs are brief paralysis in arms, legs; temporary loss of muscle co-ordination on one side of body, arm, leg; difficulty in understanding others, reading; temporary amnesia, falling for no reason, brief numbness to temperature and pain on one side of body, face; double vision, throbbing headache that matches rhythm of heart beat etc.

Appendicitis– signs include discomfort in abdomen that moves to the right and develop into constant, severe pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting or constipation; fever between 99° and 101°.

Heart Attack– warning signs include uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in centre of chest behind sternum; pain may spread to shoulders, neck, arms, may not be severe; profuse sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, feeling of weakness, gas, impending death etc.

Severe Abdominal Pain– severe and continuous abdominal pain requires urgent medical attention :

  • a) if it persists for more than four hours
  • b) if it is accompanied by discomfort but not relieved by vomiting
  • c) if the abdomen is swollen and painful to touch
  • d) if it is accompanied by faintness, drowsiness or confusion.

While waiting for medical aid to arrive, do not eat or drink anything, incase you need to undergo surgery immediately. Do not take Aspirin to relieve the pain or drink Alcohol; this will further inflame and irritates the stomach; and in some circumstances cause dangerous internal bleeding etc.

9. Red or Black in Vomit– Violent or recurrent vomiting can cause damage to the lining of oesophagus and this can result in streaks of red blood appearing in the vomit; may have a serious abdominal ulcer.

10. Forgetfulness and Confusion– If a friend or relative becomes severely confused, agitated or disoriented or is seeing or hearing non-existent things, medical attention required immediately.

11. Prolonged loss of Consciousness– Momentary loss of consciousness, fainting is not usually a cause for concern if the person is breathing normally and regains consciousness within a minute or two. If someone in your presence remains unconscious for longer, or if the breathing is slow or becomes irregular or noisy, get medical help at once. While waiting for the medical help to arrive, place the person on his tummy with the head turned on one side.

12. Diarrhoea in Children– A child who has diarrhea may be seriously ill if he or she has continuous abdominal pain for six hours or more. Repeated vomiting for more than 12 hours; refusal to drink; sunken eyes; abdominal drowsiness; passing no urine for 6 hours or more etc.

13. Vomiting in Children– Danger signs are continuous abdominal pain for over 3 hours; recurrent vomiting for more than 12 hours; refusal to drink; sunken eyes, dry tongue, abdominal drowsiness, passing  no urine for 6 hours or more; vomiting greenish-yellow matter etc.

14. Noisy Breathing– If your child’s noisy breathing is accompanied by anyone of the following symptoms, it is an emergency condition—Blueness of tongue, abnormal drowsiness, inability to speak or make sounds normally, abnormal fast breathing etc.

15. Rash with Fever– In vast majority of cases, children recover from childhood infectious diseases without special medical treatment and without experiencing complications or any long term problems. However, in a small proportion of children, the viruses that produce these diseases may spread to the central nervous system, leading to Encephalitis or Meningitis or may encourage bacterial infection of the ears and lungs. Danger signs include in addition to rash and temperature, there can be unusual drowsiness, refusal to drink, earache, abnormally fast breathing, noisy breathing, severe headache etc.

For all the above mentioned conditions, immediate attention should be given. Homoeopathic medicines can be given considering the acute totality. But it is very important to consider the life of patient—-“Save him from disease to health by any therapeutic methods—-whether it is Allopathy, Homoeopathy or Ayurveda”. I have seen some doctors, sticking on to their principles, even if it is endanger to the life of the sick individual.

After all, it is the human being in the patient we should consider. We as human beings, have lot of limitations. Keep this always in our mind. If we have crossed our limitations in the knowledge of practice, please have an open mind to refer the patient to another Doctor, who has the capability than you. Accept the Reality. Don’t keep any kind of strict principle of treatment in such cases; after all we are also human beings. We should learn from our mistakes. 

Dr. (Mrs) Neena .S. Menon
Assistant Professor, Department of Hom. Materia Medica
Y.M.T. Homoeopathic Medical College, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.
Email : [email protected]

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