While stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for men, it’s the third leading cause of death for women. And according to the National Stroke Association, each year, 55,000 more American women have a stroke than American men.
A stroke occurs when a blood clot cuts off blood flow to an area of the brain. Traditional symptoms include headaches, numbness in the face and limbs, nausea, hiccups, chest pains, and shortness of breath.
But research shows that women also have additional stroke symptoms, which leads a disparity in stroke treatments for men and women.
A misdiagnosis in the first crucial hours of a stroke can endanger a person’s life, so it’s especially important for people to learn these nine symptoms of stroke in women!
Studies show that it takes women longer than it takes for men to reach the hospital after having a stroke. And once they get treatment, women also take longer to recover than men.
Strokes come with several warning signs. But what many people don’t realize is that the symptoms for men and women are not the same.
On the one hand, there are telltale signs of stroke that are the same for both sexes. But on the other hand, women often display unique stroke symptoms that aren’t always recognized as such.
These include, according to the National Stroke Association:
- Loss of consciousness or fainting
- General weakness
- Difficulty or shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
“Either the experience of stroke is really different for some biological reason, or men and women experience the same phenomenon and explain it differently,” says Lewis Morgenstern of the University of Michigan.
The standard risk factors for stroke in women are obesity and smoking. Women who use birth control pills, who are in the final weeks of pregnancy, or who have just given birth are also at a higher risk for stroke. Scientists don’t know for sure if stress affects the possibility of stroke, but a study in the journal Neurology links stress at work to an increased risk of stroke, especially for women.
Today, strokes in men and women are treated the same, but hopefully, that will change soon.
We need more research on this subject, but by paying attention to these nine symptoms should save even more lives.
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