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But there are other, women-specific signs many of us need to learn. Hiccups, anyone? Yes, hiccups paired with chest pain can be a sign that you’re having a stroke.
In a recent study out of the University of Ohio, though, only 10 percent of women surveyed knew about the hiccups connection – a troubling fact, given that missing the signs may lead to misdiagnosis and delay in treatment. Other signs include dizziness that is not classic vertigo and migraines, according to a release.
Seek treatment early
It’s crucial to seek medical attention within three hours of symptoms appearing; that’s the window in which clot-busting drugs can help lessen the impact of a stroke.
"Women may have more headaches with their strokes. They actually can have hiccups with a little bit of chest pain with their stroke symptoms, sometimes sending them down the pathway of looking for either heart disease or indigestion," said Diana Greene-Chandos, a neurologist and director of neuroscience critical care at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, in the release.
Stroke is caused by an interruption of flow of blood to the brain or the rupture of blood vessels in the brain, causing brains cells to die, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. This can impact the ability to move, remember, speak reason, read and write, they add.
Risks differ too
In additions to in-the-moment signs, there are women-only stroke risks.
Having lupus is one. Others have to do with all stages of a woman’s reproductive life, with risks attached to oral contraception, pregnancy and menopause. These are in addition to the general risks, such as having high blood pressure and diabetes, and being a smoker.
Yet in the same survey, conducted by Ohio State University, 1,000 women, only 11 percent could identify any of the women-only risks.
Along with the survey, the Wexner Medical Center released an information sheet women can print out as a reminder – for themselves and loved ones.
Read on for some tips on reducing your risk of stroke and heart disease.