Women Experience Non-Traditional Stroke Symptoms

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | May 06, 2009

Men have an increased risk of stroke across most age groups. But in the oldest age groups, women's risk is higher, and since women live longer than men, women actually have an increased lifetime risk for stroke.

Several studies have suggested that women experience greater in-hospital delays such as longer triage times, longer time to see a physician and longer times to head imaging, which is critical for the diagnosis of stroke, compared with men, and have 30 percent lower odds of receiving tPA. Causes of these disparities are unclear, but could result from the different symptom presentation in women.

"We're hoping to understand those clinical implications and that information may lend itself to targeting stroke public health messages to women so that they can understand what it means to have one of these non-traditional stroke symptoms, and again emphasizing the urgency to seek care," says Lisabeth, who is also an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology in the U-M School of Public Health.

Recognizing an ischemic stroke
Strokes are a medical emergency, and if you notice one or more of these signs, don't wait. Call 9-1-1, or emergency medical services.

-Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;
-Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
-Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
-Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
-Severe headache with no known cause.

University of Michigan Health System.

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