- Strokes can cause typical and lesser known symptoms, which have been described in a new report.
- One study found women were more likely to have a headache, feel confused, or go into a coma than men.
- Stroke is a leading cause of death in the US, but it can be treated if symptoms are spotted early.
The classic and lesser-known symptoms of strokes have been highlighted in a new report from the American Heart Association (AHA).
An acute stroke, or "brain attack," is when a blood vessel supplying the brain gets blocked or busts, starving it of oxygen, and causing brain damage.
The AHA said that recognizing and responding to stroke symptoms is "essential." Timely treatment can prevent long-term disability and death.
Every forty seconds, someone in the US has a stroke, and strokes are a leading cause of death and long term disability in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For example, the risk of black people having a first stroke is almost twice as high as for white people, according to the CDC, and the likelihood of having a stroke about doubles every decade from age 55. Medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol can all increase a person's of having a stroke.
Classic stroke symptoms include a drooping face, slurred speech, and limb weakness
Classic stroke symptoms typically start suddenly and include: numbness or weakness in the face or limbs (usually on one side of the body), difficulty speaking, confusion, dizziness, trouble walking from a loss of balance or coordination, and vision changes in one or both eyes.
Atypical symptoms include vertigo and double vision
According to the AHA report, atypical stroke symptoms include: "partial sensory deficit" — which includes not being able to fully feel touch, pain or temperature — as well as vertigo, and double vision.
The AHA said more research was needed to fully understand what stroke symptoms look like in different demographics, taking into account factors such as: race, ethnicity, age, and the type of stroke.
Women are more likely to get symptoms like headache and coma
Women are more likely than men to get nonfocal symptoms, which are not related to a specific area of the brain, according to a 2021 review of the research cited in the AHA report.
These symptoms include headache, altered mental state, coma, and stupor — which is when someone is unresponsive, but vigorous, physical stimulation arouses them.