Stroke Symptoms in Women-The Difference

2 Oct

Stroke Symptoms in Women-The DifferenceAccording to the National Stroke Association, an estimated 800,000 people experience a stroke every year. The problem is the leading cause of disability in American adults and the fifth leading cause of death in the country.

Act Immediately

Stroke Symptoms in Women-The DifferenceFortunately, ischemic strokes—the most common type of stroke—respond to immediate treatment with a drug called IV-tPA, which can dissolve blood clots that block blood flow to the brain. Research has shown that some patients who were treated with IV-tPA within three hours of developing stroke symptoms were at least 30 percent more likely to recover with little or no disability, compared to those who didn’t receive this drug. Because IV-tPA must be administered as soon as possible, it’s imperative that you seek immediate medical attention if you think you or a loved one is having a stroke.

Yet women are much less likely to receive this crucial treatment, possibly because they often experience different stroke symptoms than men. The latter tend to exhibit more “classic” symptoms. Here’s the difference:

Classic Stroke Symptoms

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden difficulty walking, dizziness, or loss or balance or coordination
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Other Stroke Symptoms

Stroke Symptoms in Women-The DifferenceAlthough those are the symptoms that most people commonly experience, research has shown women are 33 percent less likely to report such “classic” stroke symptoms when they arrive at the emergency room than their male counterparts. Some people—and women in particular—are more apt to experience other, vague symptoms that could signal a stroke. These include:

  • Lightheadedness, fainting, or loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • General weakness
  • Agitation
  • Confusion, unresponsiveness, or disorientation
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Hiccups