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What are stroke symptom differences between men and women?

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Quick Answer

Stroke symptoms are more vague in women than in men, according to WebMD. Women also report more nontraditional stroke symptoms, such as light-headedness, pain and headaches, notes the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

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Both men and women report traditional stroke symptoms, such as weakness or numbness on one side of the body, according to the National Stroke Association. The most common complaints among women, other than the traditional stroke symptoms, are loss of consciousness, seizures and difficulty breathing, reports WebMD.

About 69 percent of women present weakness as a stroke symptom, compared to 59 percent of men, according to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Other stroke symptoms that are unique to women include hallucination, vomiting and nausea, agitation, disorientation and hiccups, explains the National Stroke Association. Altered mental status is the most common nontraditional symptom, and it is present in 23 percent of women and 15 percent of men, reports the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

The difference in symptoms in women and men may cause a delay in treatment for female stroke patients, explains the National Stroke Foundation. This is because doctors may fail to recognize these nontraditional signs as stroke symptoms. These nontraditional symptoms can cost the female patient if she does not receive the vital medications and treatments on time, says Healthline.

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