senior woman and her doctorA cold that won’t go away, a high fever: we all know the signs that mean we should head to the doctor.

But as we age, there are different symptoms that we should watch out for.

Read on to find out the signs that mean your loved one needs the attention of a doctor right away.

  1. She’s had a bad fall. For seniors, a slip and fall may be more than just embarrassing. Between 20 and 30 percent of falls result in moderate to severe injuries, such as brain injury.

    If your loved one has had a fall, and has a severe headache, mental fogginess, blurred vision, numbness in the arms or legs, or other symptoms of brain injury, get medical attention immediately.

  2. You see symptoms of stroke. One of the biggest risk factors for stroke is age, so be on the lookout for its symptoms. If you notice that your loved one has weakness or numbness in her face or limbs, or has sudden vision loss–particularly if these symptoms are happening on one side of the body, she might have had a stroke. A sudden loss of speech, sudden, severe headaches, or sudden unsteadiness can also signal stroke.
  3. She’s having chest pains. Chest pain can be a symptom of heart attack. Other symptoms include a feeling of pressure in the chest, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, an irregular heartbeat, or pain or pressure in the back, neck, jaw, shoulders, arms or upper belly. If your loved one is having one or more of these symptoms, call 911.
  4. You notice sudden weight loss. Most of us would love to lose weight without trying. But when it happens to seniors, it can be a sign of illness. Disease or depression can be the cause, and they are serious problems that should  be addressed by a doctor. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s sudden weight loss, make an appointment with their doctor right away.
  5. She’s overheated. Seniors are more vulnerable to the heat; they account for 40 percent of heat-related deaths each year. If your loved one has been exposed to the heat, and is feeling lightheaded, faint, nauseous, and sweating, get them to a doctor–she might have heat exhaustion. If she’s running a fever above 104° F, fainting, and/or acting confused, delirious or irritable, call 911–she might have heat stroke.

You shouldn’t wait until you see one of the symptoms above to seek medical attention. Seniors should see their doctors for an annual check-up. A yearly doctor’s visit can help head off big problems like those above. If you don’t have an appointment in your calendar, make one today.

What signs do you look for outside of the ones we’ve listed? Share with us in the comments below.