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The traditional stroke symptoms: sudden onset of weakness in one side, coordination problems, trouble talking and loss of vision, may not be the only ones to watch out for in the case of women, who may display signs of a stroke in a different way, according to research presented at the 2009 International Stroke Conference.
"What we're finding is that women experience what is considered non-traditional symptoms," said Dr Lynda Lisabeth, a researcher in the department of neurology at the Universty of Michigan Health System. "The non-traditional symptom that stood out was altered mental status, meaning confusion, disorientation or a loss of consciousness."
The study looked at ischemic strokes, the most common kind, and transient ischemic attacks, whose symptoms go away quickly. The researchers looked at 461 cases and then classified their symptoms as traditional or nontraditional. Women were more likely to have nontraditional symptoms and mental confusion was the most likely of these.
Researchers do not know why women's symptoms were different, but because serious stroke responds best to quick response, a failure to recognize a stroke as such may place women at more danger.
Determining those women at risk of stroke, which can be done through blood tests , is one method risk of misdiagnosis can be limited.
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