Stroke symptoms are different depending on sex, a New York City surgeon warned.
Well-known symptoms, such as numbness in one side and difficulty speaking, mainly affect men.
But for women, the warning signs tend to be more subtle, according to a video shared by Dr. Erin Nance of Lennox Hill Hospital.
She adds that ignorance about gender disparity is putting women at risk of misdiagnosis, as the best results are seen in patients who receive treatment within three hours of symptoms appearing.
“If you wait seven or eight hours to go to the hospital, you’ve already reduced your chances of a good recovery,” he says.
Importantly, the majority (60 percent) of stroke deaths in the United States occur in women.
Studies show that seizures, which occur when blood supply to the brain is cut off, are also more common in women.
About 55,000 more women than men suffer a stroke each year in the U.S., according to investigation.
“Women are 33 percent more likely to be misdiagnosed when they experience an acute stroke,” Dr. Nance says in a video posted for her. tiktok channel.
“Most women who are misdiagnosed are told they have anxiety or migraine.”
It goes on to reveal the “unique symptoms of stroke in women,” which include: “Unconsciousness or fainting, general weakness, not just weakness in an arm or leg.”
“Confusion, lack of response or disorientation,” he adds. Perhaps the most striking symptom is the “sudden change in behavior,” which includes agitation and hallucinations.
“Nausea, vomiting, seizures or even hiccups.”
Women can also suffer classic stroke symptoms, Dr. Nance says, such as weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, and a droopy face.
“But these unique symptoms are often the ones that get overlooked when you go to an emergency room when you’re not feeling well and stroke is not a priority for a potential diagnosis.”
It’s not entirely clear why men and women experience different stroke symptoms; However, some research suggests it may be related to differences in the size of the blood vessels that supply the brain. This affects the areas of the brain that are affected by a lack of nutrients, resulting in different symptoms.
One high-profile woman who suffered a devastating attack is model Hailey Bieber, who suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, in March 2022.
Model and influencer Hailey Bieber suffered a mini stroke in March 2022, after feeling numbness in her arm and losing the ability to speak.
The 26-year-old, married to pop megastar Justin Bieber, was hospitalized after suffering sudden shooting pain in her arm and losing the ability to speak.
Tests later revealed that he suffered a stroke that eventually resolved on its own: the cause was found to be a small blood clot that had traveled to his brain through an abnormal space between the upper chambers of his heart.
WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS OF A MINI STROKE?
A transient ischemic attack (or TIA) involves a temporary lack of blood flow to the brain, causing momentary dizziness, confusion, tingling, and numbness in the arms.
You should call 911 if you suspect you are having a TIA.
- vision changes
- dysphasia (problems speaking)
- balance problems
- an altered level of consciousness
- an abnormal sense of taste
- an abnormal sense of smell
- weakness or numbness on only one side of the body or face, determined by the location of the blood clot in the brain
There are many reasons why women are at higher risk of stroke compared to men. For example, birth control pills, taken by approximately 230 million American women, can contribute to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke.
“This doesn’t mean women should stop taking birth control pills,” says Dr. Nance. “It means that if you have a symptom, a stroke-like symptom, and you are taking birth control pills, you should tell your doctor immediately for fear of having a possible stroke.”
Pregnancy and hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which just under half of postmenopausal women take to relieve symptoms such as hot flashes, may also be responsible for increased blood pressure.
Stroke is not the only cardiovascular condition that affects men and women differently.
Research shows that heart attack symptoms vary between genders, and women are much more likely to experience less common signs like indigestion, shortness of breath, and back pain.
Women are also less likely than men to experience chest pain in the minutes before a heart attack.
Widespread misunderstanding of female symptoms is thought to be one of the reasons why women are up to twice as likely to die in the years after a heart attack.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, killing about 310,000 women each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.