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Identifying the Signs of a Stroke in Women

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Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine pointed out that in the United States, stroke is the third most common cause of death, with 55,000 more women than men having a stroke each year. But according to HealthDay News, a survey conducted on behalf of HealthyWomen found that 25 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 75 could not name more than two stroke symptoms. In addition, the survey found that 40 percent of women were not worried about having a stroke.

As the National Women's Health Information Center explained, most people have two or more signs of a stroke. Identifying the signs of a stroke is extremely important, as the longer a person has to wait to receive treatment, the more complications are possible. MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, notes that complications of a stroke include a permanent loss of brain functions, loss of movement and sensation, problems communicating, decreased life span and reduced social interactions.

Men and women do have similar signs of a stroke. All signs of a stroke come on suddenly and can be severe. For example, both women and men can have a bad headache, which does not have an apparent cause. Patients can also experience numbness or weakness in certain areas of their bodies, such as the leg, arm or face. The National Women's Health Information Center points out that the numbness or weakness usually occurs on one side of the body. Cognitive functions can become affected, with signs include confusion, trouble talking and understanding speech. Some patients may have difficulty seeing, either with one eye or with both eyes. Women and men can also have a loss of balance, dizziness or trouble walking as signs of a stroke.

But the National Women's Health Information Center notes that women have signs of a stroke that men do not experience. For example, women can experience a pounding or racing heartbeat. Besides the numbness or weakness, women can also have pain in their face, arm or leg. Chest pain is also possible. Patients may suddenly become tired. Women may have hiccups or nausea as signs of a stroke. Some women may have shortness of breath, in which they feel that they are not getting enough air to breathe. If anyone experiences these signs of a stroke, they should seek medical attention immediately.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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