What are the signs of a stroke in women?
What makes a human different from any other creature is the brain function. The human brain function is complex. The complexity itself makes humans the most superior beings and enables them to live in a social setting. The brain function can be affected by bad heart health. Thus, it is important to take care of your body as a whole so that many diseases can be prevented. In this article, we will be learning about stroke, particularly in women.
Stroke or brain attack is a condition that occurs when the blood supply to the part of the brain is blocked or the blood vessels in the brain burst. These result in part of the brain becoming damaged, possibly dying. Stroke can cause permanent brain damage, long-term disability and in the worst case, death. Stroke is ranked as the second leading cause of death worldwide that accounts for more than 5.5 million deaths. In 2022 alone, it is estimated that 1 in 4 people will have a stroke in their lifetime and the risk for developing stroke has increased by 50% for the past 17 years.
The high possibility for a person to develop stroke itself should cause worries in many people. People might be thinking that stroke is common in men but the fact is women are also at high risk for stroke. The risk is heightened when a female uses a certain type of birth control medicine, experienced high blood pressure during pregnancy and smoking. The longer life expectancy in women itself makes women have more strokes throughout their lifetime. In fact, one in five women will definitely have a stroke. Stroke as a cause of death in women kills more women than men.
Hence, it is important to know the signs of stroke, especially in women. This is because women often are presented with subtle signs that often get dismissed or overlooked. In general, male and females do experience the same main symptoms of stroke. The main symptoms of stroke are easily remembers using the acronym BE FAST, which includes:
- B-Balance: A person’s balance or coordination is impaired or greatly affected.
- E-Eyes: Sudden vision loss, blurred vision or double vision affecting one of both eyes.
- F-Face dropping: The easiest way to see this is when a person smiles, one side of the face is drooping.
- A-Arm weakness: Inability to hold the arms up above the head due to numbness or weakness.
- S-Speech difficulties: Slurring speech even when saying simple sentences that usually does not cause speech difficulties.
- T-Time: If any of the above symptoms is present, it is time to go to the emergency department or call an ambulance, confusion and memory problems.
As mentioned before, the classic stroke signs may not be significant in women. Plus, women tend to have additional symptoms that are unspecific such as fatigue, general weakness affecting both sides of the body, numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, nausea, vomiting and severe headache with no known cause. These symptoms may seem to be blamed for other less serious less urgent medical conditions. In the end, the woman ends up not getting the urgent medical aid and wait for another day or probably not meeting the doctor at all as she might think it is just another usual harmless disease.
A stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency. It is essential for women to get to hospital for early treatment. It is not worth it for women to really wait for the classic stroke symptoms to hit first before they come to sense that the symptoms they are having is indeed stroke but with nonspecific symptoms. It is also not worth waiting for a true stroke that women failed to get prompt treatment.
If stroke symptoms go away after a few minutes, this may be a sign of transient ischemic attack (TIA) or also known as mini stroke. TIA occurs when the blood flow to the brain is temporarily blocked. TIA is usually ignored by people because it clears up quite fast. It is important to pay attention to TIA as it could really save a life. TIA serves as a warning that a person is at risk for a full-blown stroke in the near future. Around one-third people with mini strokes will have a more severe stroke within 1 year. Hence, a person with TIA should get immediate medical help to prevent the potential disastrous event.
In essence, it is important for women to know they too are at risk for stroke. It is important to not only understand the classic sign of stroke but also to take note of the other nonspecific symptoms. Women should not take stroke symptoms lightly just because they assume it is not a serious problem. Women should not brush away possible stroke symptoms or make excuses that end up with healthcare professionals to take it lightly. Treating stroke is extremely time-sensitive and delays can increase risk for death or permanent brain damage. It is wise to be comfortable with potential false alarm and being wrong for overthinking stroke symptoms rather than coating it with a silver lining of uncertainties.
Also read – Dengue Prevention.