It’s easy for busy women to brush off a little pain. Sometimes women feel extra tired, and most of the time, it’s probably nothing to be concerned about. But sometimes, these symptoms could be a sign that something more serious is going on. NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar explains, “It’s important for women to understand that there’s no duration of a symptom that automatically makes it a red flag; other than crushing chest pain, some things can wait.”
That’s why she says it’s important for women to be aware of what they’re feeling and for them to know what’s normal for their body and to get answers from their healthcare provider when something does feel off. Azar explains the three symptoms that women shouldn’t ignore:
- Shortness of breath – It could just be that you haven’t been exercising and your cardiovascular fitness needs some work, but when should you be concerned? If it’s a change from your norm or if you’re also having chest pain. Persistent shortness of breath could be a symptom of lung or heart issues and it’s worth getting it checked out.
- Jaw pain – Stress and grinding your teeth are common reasons your jaw could be aching, but it could also indicate an underlying health condition including arthritis, vascular problems, nerve pain, or a heart attack. “Heart attacks, for women especially, don’t always present with chest pain,” says Azar. “You can have pain that radiates to the jaw or down the arm. So, if you’re having unexplained left-sided jaw pain, better to be safe than sorry.”
- Frequent fatigue – Many of us are always tired, so how do we know if it’s a sign of a more significant issue? Azar stresses that it’s important to be aware of your own base energy levels and recognize any changes. Chronic fatigue could be a symptom of anemia, thyroid disease, depression, fibromyalgia, and chronic kidney or liver disease. Trust your intuition if something feels off and talk to your doctor to help you get to the bottom of it.