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These Surprising Symptoms Can Signal a Stroke in Women

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When you have a stroke, time lost is brain lost. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chance of survival with minimal or no side effects. Since women can have different stroke symptoms, it can be harder to recognize the signs. Learn more so you can B.E. F.A.S.T..

When you have a stroke, time lost is brain lost. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chance of survival without (or at least with minimal) side effects. And, since women can have different (and surprising) stroke symptoms, it can be even harder to recognize the signs.

What Is a Stroke, Anyway?

A stroke is an interruption or blockage of blood flow to or in your brain. There are a few types of stroke:

Hemorrhagic Stroke

This type of stroke happens when an artery or blood vessel in your brain ruptures and bleeds within your brain. Causes of hemorrhagic stroke can include high blood pressure, blood thinners, and aneurysms (weak spots in the blood vessel walls).

Ischemic Stroke

The most common type, ischemic stroke, is a blocked blood vessel in your brain. Usually, either a blood clot forms in an artery to your brain and blocks or stops blood flow, or a blood clot or plaque (the fatty material that can clog your arteries) can break loose from another part of the body and lodge in one of your brain's blood vessels.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

This type of ischemic stroke goes away within 30 minutes without causing permanent damage. However, that doesn't mean you should ignore it. It's a warning of what can happen without seeking help and making lifestyle changes.

Although any type of stroke can cause death or permanent disability, hemorrhagic stroke is the most serious.

Common Stroke Symptoms

The usual symptoms of a stroke are face drooping, arm weakness, and slurred speech. But other symptoms can include:

  • Loss of balance or trouble walking
  • Severe headache
  • Vision trouble (double vision, partially blocked vision or feeling like you're looking through a broken window)

Although some symptoms may be similar to other conditions, stroke symptoms happen suddenly. In fact, sudden onset of symptoms is one of the ways you can identify a stroke.

If you're with someone you believe is having a stroke, you should B.E. F.A.S.T.:

Balance: Does the person have trouble with balance or coordination?

Eyes: Is the person experiencing sudden blurring or loss of vision in one or both eyes?

Face: When the person smiles, does one side of the face droop?

Arms: When the person raises both arms, does one sink back down?

Speech: Is the person's speech slurred? Can they repeat a simple sentence?

Time: If the person has any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

However, you may be surprised by the types are signs that can signal a woman is having a stroke. You should specifically look out for these stroke symptoms in women:

  • Agitation or sudden behavioral change
  • Difficulty breathing
  • General weakness
  • Hallucination
  • Hiccups
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain
  • Seizures

Studies suggest that uncommon stroke symptoms in women may delay treatment. Remember the saying, time lost is brain lost. Although clinical trials have greatly extended the window for stroke treatment, women can't get the most effective treatment if their strokes are not recognized immediately.

Be sure to note the time any stroke symptoms began — this is critical information for emergency medical people and doctors at the hospital.

Know Your Risk and Understand the Signs

For anyone having a stroke, time is of the essence — and our emergency teams are specially prepared to intervene with speed and precision.

"Our stroke patients have the greatest chance of recovering from a stroke," says Dr. Brahmbhatt, AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute Medical Director of Emergency Departments.

By knowing stroke symptoms for women and men, you will be better prepared to save a life, including your own. Find out more about how to prevent and treat a stroke with our specialist team.

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