Common Misdiagnoses for Stroke

Because symptoms of stroke can be mistaken for many different things, stroke patients may need to speak up and advocate for themselves to make sure they get a proper diagnosis and the care that they need as soon as possible.

A delay in treatment can increase the severity of a stroke, so a swift and proper diagnosis is paramount.

Here is a look at common misdiagnoses for stroke.

Being Drunk or on Drugs

Someone who is drunk or on drugs may act in a way or exhibit symptoms that can be confused with stroke symptoms.

For example, they may stumble, or be unable to walk straight, and their speech may be slurred.

So a stroke patient may need to be prepared to repeatedly answer that they are sober.

Be clear and firm with a doctor or hospital staff that you are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and that your symptoms need to be addressed.

Stroke During Pregnancy 

Each year several thousand women in the United States have a stroke while pregnant, in delivery, or in the first few weeks following delivery.

And warning signs of stroke, such as facial drooping and arm weakness, could be mistaken for other symptoms during pregnancy.

For example, inflammation of the facial nerve could cause a pregnant woman’s facial muscles to droop.  And carpel tunnel syndrome, a very common symptom during pregnancy, can cause tingling and weakness in the inner portion of the arm.

Reach out to your doctor immediately if you believe you are experiencing any warning signs of stroke before or after a pregnancy.

Blurred Vision

Problems with vision including double vision, blurriness, and losing sight in one eye can all be signs of a stroke.

Don’t dismiss these symptoms for tiredness or old age, or allow a medical professional to make the same conclusion.

A blocked blood vessel reducing the amount of oxygen reaching an eye can cause any of these vision problems. So if you experience a sudden vision problem, don’t rule out the possibility of stroke.

Other Misdiagnosed Signs of Stroke 

If you are not prone to migraines, a sudden and severe headache could be a sign of stroke, as could sudden numbness or weakness in an arm.

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call 911 and reach out for help. Don’t underestimate these symptoms or allow a medical professional to do the same without checking for the possibility of a stroke.

Check out this and other great stroke-related information at strokesmart.org.

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