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Knowing When to Go to the Emergency Room

Last updated 4 years ago

What constitutes a medical emergency, and how will you know when you need to go to the ER? Keep reading to find out about some of the most common reasons you should seek emergency medical care. Your hospital’s emergency room is always open to treat medical emergencies at any time of day or night.

Heart Attack Symptoms

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is interrupted. Lack of blood causes tissues in the heart to die, impairing its ability to function. The organs in the rest of your body—including your brain—will also suffer if normal circulation is not restored. The symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, chest pressure, abdominal discomfort, nausea, shortness of breath, and dizziness. You may also experience pain in your arms, back, neck, or jaw. If you or someone with you displays these symptoms, go to the ER immediately.

Head Trauma Symptoms

Head trauma that results from a fall or blow to the head can injure the brain. Loss of consciousness may or may not occur following severe head trauma. Other symptoms of brain injury include seizures, vomiting, blurred vision, and disorientation. If you notice these symptoms immediately after a blow to the head or even after a few hours following a head injury, you should visit the emergency room.

Stroke Symptoms

A stroke is the loss of brain function due to a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. An ischemia stroke is due to either blockage of a blood vessel or cerebral hypoperfusion. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by bleeding of blood vessels of the brain. The affected area of the brain cannot function as a result. This may result in an inability to move one or more limbs, formulate speech, or vision impairment. A stroke is a medical emergency and can cause permanent neurological damage or even death. You should go to the ER immediately if you or someone with you displays these symptoms.

Broken Bones

Whether you’re sure you have a broken bone or only suspect you may have suffered a fracture, it’s time to visit the ER for a professional medical evaluation. Although broken bones usually are not a life-threatening condition, they should be treated quickly. Signs of a broken bone can include severe pain and swelling, bleeding, difficulty moving the affected limb, and the inability to bear weight on a broken leg or foot.

St. Petersburg General Hospital’s Emergency Department is an accredited primary stroke center and chest pain center. If you experience a medical emergency, visit us immediately for fast, effective, and experienced care. You can reach us at (888) 741-5122 regarding non-emergency medical care, including women’s services, breast cancer screening, robotic surgery, and sleep disorder treatment. 


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