Stroke Symptoms May Differ in Women
Women Less Likely to Report Classic Symptoms
WebMD News Archive
Feb. 8, 2007 (San Francisco) -- Female stroke victims are less likely to report classic
stroke symptoms than men -- one possible explanation for why they aren't as
likely to get a crucial stroke drug.
The new research found that female stroke victims are 33% less likely to
report a classic stroke symptom when they arrive at the emergency room than
their male counterparts.
The finding comes at a time when research shows women who suffer strokes are
much less likely to be given the clot-busting drug tPA than men, notes
researcher Julia Warner Gargano, MS, an epidemiologist at Michigan State
University in East Lansing.
The most common type of stroke, an ischemic stroke, occurs when blood flow
to an area of the brain is compromised by a blood clot. This leads to the death
of brain cells and brain damage.
"It's a quandary," says American Stroke Association spokesman Larry
Goldstein, MD, a neurologist at Duke University who was not involved with the
"Women tend to have more symptoms that are very vague, so it's hard to
ascribe them to stroke. And if it's not promptly diagnosed as stroke, it won't
be treated as a stroke," he tells WebMD.
"If a woman tends to have a lot of headaches and she comes in with
another headache, why would you even begin to think it's a stroke?"
Gargano's study was presented here at the American Stroke Association's
International Stroke Conference 2007.