15 Signs Your Upper Abdominal Pain May Be an Emergency

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Your medical history is worrisome

Depending on your health history, a "just-in-case" trip to the ER for any abdominal pain could be in order. "Patients who have a history of heart disease, diabetes, aneurysms, abdominal surgeries, traumatic injury, or past GI bleeding should have upper abdominal pain evaluated by their physician or an emergency physician," says Rema S. Johnson, DO, assistant medical director, Emergency Services at AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. And don't wait, she stresses: "A life-threatening condition could be developing."

Read one woman's story of surviving a heart attach at 21.

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You're short of breath

"Shortness of breath or feeling faint are warning signs that a patient should be evaluated ASAP," Dr. Nazareth says. Breathlessness could indicate cardiac trouble or other deadly conditions. Learn some effective ways to combat shortness of breath.

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You're vomiting—regularly

Vomiting could put you at risk of dehydration, but it can also indicate a more serious problem. "If the pain is accompanied by persistent vomiting, it could indicate an intestinal blockage," Dr. Yuan says. Here's how to tell the difference between food poisoning and a stomach bug.

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