Each year more than 100 000 women under the age of 65 will have a stroke. But if you were one of those women, would you be able to recognise the symptoms?
In the stroke field, it is said that ‘time is brain’. Meaning the longer you wait to seek treatment after experiencing stroke symptoms, the more time there is for permanent damage to occur. Your best defence is to catch the symptoms early and get to start treatment immediately.
Here are the stroke symptoms in women that deserve immediate medical attention:
You feel weak or numb on one side of your body
Suddenly losing strength or being unable to feel a limb on one side of your body is one of the most common signs of stroke, especially in the arm and leg. Why just on one side of the body? Because medical practitioners explain, that each side of your brain affects the opposite side of your body. So, if you have bleeding in the right side of your brain, the left side of your body will show symptoms.
One side of your face is drooping
The side of the brain affected will determine which side of your face shows this tell-tale stroke symptom. If the corner of your mouth or eye is suddenly drooping or you are unable to control facial expressions on both sides of your face, get to the emergency room immediately.
You are having difficulty reading or understanding speech
The left side of your brain is in control of language, so if you experience a stroke there, you could experience aphasia (loss of ability to understand or express speech). This is the most common language stroke symptom, impairing your brain’s ability to processes words. It can affect how you speak, your ability to understand what someone is saying, or your reading or writing skills.
Your speech is slurred
Another, but less common speech-related stroke symptom, dyspraxia happens when you cannot control the muscles required to produce clear speech. Your speech muscles may or may not be weak or paralysed, and you will not be able to move them how you want, when you want.
You have a hellacious headache
Severe headaches are most likely to occur in cases of haemorrhagic strokes, in which the brain bleeds into itself, which require immediate medical attention. However, if you could describe your headache as “the worst headache of your life” or it comes on in a blink of an eye, definitely get it checked out.
You cannot see on one side
Much like the limb weakness or numbness, vision problems are usually one-sided. But instead of losing sight in one full eye, it is said that you are more likely to lose the same field of vision in both eyes. This is because the eyeball itself and the optic nerve are fine, but where that information goes to get processed in the brain is what can be damaged.
You are having trouble walking
Strokes can cause both dizziness and a loss of coordination. Meanwhile, if you are also dealing with numbness or weakness in one leg, you are only going to have more trouble walking or simply staying upright. This can be an alarming neurological symptom and deserves an immediate trip to the hospital.