Jamaica Gleaner / Going to the doctor is not like going to the sports bar and grabbing a drink, it is a nerve-racking experience and something that men would rather not do. However, there are a few symptoms that you might be experiencing and should seek medical help for. We solicited the expertise of General Practitioner Garth Rattray for some of these symptoms and what they might mean.

Chest pain or tightness All chest pains must be suspected even if it is on the right side of the body. Many people think that the pain may be due to ‘gas’. Chest pains may be due to other conditions like acid reflux, chest infections, nerve pain, irritation of joints in the ribs and inflammation of the soft tissues on the front of the chest. Heart conditions must always be investigated also. Another very serious cause of chest pain is the dissection of the aorta within the chest cavity. This can mimic a heart attack.

Bad feelings That hollow, awful feeling in the chest that we sometimes think it will soon pass may be an emergency caused by heart conditions or clots in the lungs.

Shortness of breath Shortness of breath may or may not accompany chest pain or discomfort, but it must always be investigated. Serious causes may be a heart attack, serious arrhythmias, clots in the lungs, serious lung infections, heart failure, fluid in the lungs, severe anaemia and a host of other ailments.

Inability to pass urine easily This may be due to an enlarged prostate or a narrowing or constriction of the urethra. Those are the two most common causes, but it may also be caused by obstruction from a stone in the bladder or a problem with the nerve that serves the bladder.

Severe and sudden headaches These can be caused by a haemorrhage. Sometimes tumours are suspected, however, they are not usually sudden at the onset.

Sudden loss of use

of a limb or limbs This can be caused by a stroke or damage to a set of nerves exiting the spine in the neck or lower back.

Sudden fainting

or blackout This can be caused by cardiovascular problems and so, too, problems affecting the brain and serious infections.


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