Women and Strokes: Unique Risks & Uncommon Symptoms

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the US and are on the rise in young women. Arm yourself by knowing the common and lesser-known risks and symptoms tied to this deadly disease.

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The classic symptoms of strokes include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg – especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

While women experience the classic symptoms of stroke, they can also experience different symptoms that are often dismissed as something else. These include:


1. Sudden Nausea and Vomiting: These symptoms are usually very sudden and are often accompanied by other more common stroke symptoms.


2. Pain on One Side of the Body: In addition to or instead of the traditional numbness or tingling, women often feel pain that can occur anywhere in the body, such as the face, arm, or leg.

3. Hiccups: These involuntary contractions of the diaphragm are controlled by nerves in the brain which, when irritated, may cause a stroke. It is unknown why this occurs in women but not in men.

4. Extreme Exhaustion: Women often experience a sudden fit of sleepiness, such as the urge to lie down and take a nap before having a stroke. However, taking a nap is the worst thing you can do when having a stroke since your brain needs to stay active so you can take action and get help right away.