Ischemic stroke symptoms are the first signs in women

1. Fainting or seizures

A simple swoon can result in a stroke if a woman does not pay attention to it. Women are more likely than men to have a stroke in the back of the brain. With such a stroke, blood flow to the occipital lobes, brain stem, cerebellum and temporal lobes is interrupted.

If the center of consciousness located in the brain stem is affected, this can lead to fainting.

Fainting may also be a reaction to hyperventilation for any type of stroke or a fear reaction. Seizures are also often signs of stroke in women and are often confused with loss of consciousness.

2. Shortness of breath

Although women think that chest pain and shortness of breath are signs of a heart attack, this can also indicate a stroke.

This is again related to the blood supply to the brain in the area of ​​the trunk responsible for respiratory functions.

Having recognized the first signs of a stroke, it is important to seek help in time, as some of them can be stopped with the help of drugs that dissolve blood clots.

According to surveys, only 10 percent of women are aware that hiccups combined with chest pain are some of the early signs of a stroke. This is due to the fact that blood flow is disturbed in the area responsible for swallowing and breathing along with other functions.

4. Sudden behavior change or anxiety arousal

Women are twice as likely as men to have atypical signs of a stroke. The most common of them is a change in the mental state of a woman.

Experts believe that if a stroke occurs in the back of the brain, it can affect the centers of memory and personality, which is why strange behaviors are manifested.

  • Later defeat. If men, according to statistics, suffer from a stroke as early as 40 years old, then women live without it until 55-60 years old.

But: the risk increases during pregnancy.

  • Death from a stroke for a female is a frequent occurrence.
  • In women, a tendency to form blood clots.
  • Taking contraceptives can also trigger a stroke.
  • Women are usually more emotional and more likely to suffer from stress, which can negatively affect the state of the cardiovascular system.

The causes of both strokes can be the following problems:

  • obstruction of arteries;
  • thrombosis;
  • arrhythmia;
  • high blood pressure;
  • diabetes;
  • atherosclerosis, etc.

There are two main types of both micro- and traditional stroke:

  1. Hemorrhagic stroke is a hemorrhage with the formation of hematomas. Recovery takes from two weeks to several months. Risk group: people over 45 years old with chronic diseases, bad habits or predisposition to the disease.
  2. Ischemic stroke leads to clogging of blood vessels by blood clots. It differs from hemorrhagic in accruing effect. In most cases, this type of disease is diagnosed in patients. At risk are people over 60 years old with chronic diseases, bad habits or a predisposition to the disease.

Also, some specialists distinguish lacunar stroke, which is associated with damage to small arteries in the brainstem or cortex.

The types of strokes differ in manifestations, therefore it is so important to make a timely and correct diagnosis in order to provide proper and timely help to the patient. Further treatment and the prognosis of the disease depend on this.

What are the manifestations of stroke and microstroke in women? The first signs of both diseases will depend on:

  1. Type of stroke;
  2. From the affected part of the brain (if the blow fell on the left side of the brain, then the symptoms will be on the right and vice versa);
  3. From the lobe of the brain that has been affected.

But the first signs of a stroke for both sexes absolutely certainly include difficulty speaking, unnatural curvature of the face and a problem with reflexes. To diagnose micro (stroke) at home, you need to remember one simple word that can help. FAST is an acronym designed for doctors to remember which symptoms they need to look for immediately.

F (face) – One part of the face with a stroke is distorted. To test this, ask the patient to smile. She cannot do this: one corner of her mouth will remain motionless.

A (arms) – Hands are weakened. The grasping reflex for a stroke disappears, in addition, the patient will not be able to raise both hands up at the same time.

S (speech) – Speech is difficult. In this state, it is difficult to pronounce even a simple sentence. Ask the victim to give her full name or the address where she lives. Sounds will be confused, words will not come together in a sentence.

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T (time) – This is a very important criterion. It is believed that no more than 3 hours should pass from the detection of symptoms to the start of treatment: if the disease is treated immediately, there is a greater chance that it will not lead to disability or death.

If the signs of stroke and microstroke in women are the same for all types of disease, then the symptoms differ depending on whether the stroke is ischemic, hemorrhagic, or lacunar.

Hemorrhagic stroke manifests itself in the following symptoms:

  • severe headache;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • rapid breathing;
  • dilated pupils;
  • epileptic seizures;
  • upper limbs naughty: arms cannot be raised;
  • elevated temperature;
  • involuntary urination;
  • possible loss of consciousness and even coma.

Ischemic stroke is more favorable according to forecasts and manifests itself as follows:

  • dizziness and weakness throughout the body;
  • tinnitus;
  • loss of vision for a short time;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • difficulty swallowing;
  • speech impairment;
  • strabismus.

The most favorable prognosis is a lacunar stroke, its symptoms are as follows:

  • develops only if blood pressure is increased;
  • the main symptom is paralysis of the limbs and facial muscles, there are no more pronounced symptoms;
  • gradual increase in symptoms;
  • after the attack, a complete recovery is possible.

Symptoms of stroke and microstroke are the same in both young and old women. The only difference is that the older the body, the more difficult it is to tolerate the disease.

The first step in diagnosing strokes is home testing.

  1. Perform a FAST test;
  2. If symptoms are confirmed, call an ambulance;
  3. While the team is on the way, free the sore chest (unfasten the buttons) to facilitate breathing, the stomach should also not tighten anything, so you need to unfasten the belt and buttons on the clothes;
  4. Lay it on your back: shoulders and head – on a pillow (this way you can avoid the accumulation of fluid in the skull);
  5. You can cover with a blanket and give some water.

The patient should not be given any tablets, this can only do harm.

  • ECG and ultrasound of the heart;
  • Vascular examination;
  • An echocardiogram (allows you to determine any abnormalities in the heart);
  • A blood test for platelet count, clotting time, sugar, etc.
  • CT (will detect a blood clot and determine its nature).
  • REG (rheographic method for studying the vascular system of the brain) and USDG (ultrasound examination) with functional tests (for example, with turns and tilts of the head) – these methods are necessary for examining the arteries of the spine.
  • MRI (allows you to detect the location of the thrombus with high accuracy).

If necessary, such specialists as a neurologist and an ophthalmologist can be involved in the treatment process.

For the treatment of microstroke, medication is usually prescribed, involving vasodilator drugs and blood flow improvers. After undergoing this therapy, the patient is usually given dietary recommendations and then prescribed.

It is also possible to treat a stroke with medication. For this, the doctor prescribes the following groups of drugs:

  1. Anticoagulants and disaggregants, antihypertensive drugs that prevent blood clots.
  2. Thrombolytics normalize blood circulation (prescribed only for ischemic stroke).
  3. Diuretics – to eliminate cerebral edema.
  4. Neuroprotectors are needed to restore brain function.

If conservative treatment does not help, surgical intervention is necessary, which is performed with the following indications:

  • cerebellar stroke – a progressive neurological defect;
  • hematomas on the brain;
  • problems with blood vessels, accompanied by bleeding;
  • cerebral edema;
  • coma.

With ischemic stroke, the following operations are possible:

  • Removal of the wall of the carotid artery, if it is affected by a plaque. In this operation, local anesthesia is used, therefore it is considered one of the safest.
  • If the lumen diameter of the carotid artery has narrowed to 60%, stenting is performed to improve blood flow (installation of a stent – a metal frame). This operation also does not require general anesthesia.
  • The introduction of thrombotic drugs.

In hemorrhagic stroke, the effectiveness of the operation depends on the size and location of the hematoma. Indications for operations are as follows:

  • Acute cerebral edema (craniotomy with drainage).
  • Threat of coma (removal of the skull bone).
  • Reducing the risk of relapse (clipping aneurysm).

But it’s important to understand that brain operations are one of the most difficult and risky, and there are a wide range of contraindications to them (heart failure, recent stroke or heart attack, mental disorders, somatic diseases, elderly patient, etc.), therefore if possible, the patient is prescribed conservative treatment.

A microstroke has favorable prognoses with timely diagnosis. If the patient received competent treatment, the risk of relapse and the development of hemorrhage in the brain is significantly reduced. In the case when the disease is transferred on the legs, relapse can occur within 3-5 days, and a stroke develop in a few years.

Stroke Risk Factors

It was previously believed that this pathology is the lot of the elderly, which is far from the case. The disease has long been “younger” and occurs more often in young people who have not even reached the age of 40. Stroke in men takes the 4th place in terms of mortality among the adult male population of any age, and in the first place this disease is among the causes of mortality in the male population aged 40 to 60 years. There are two types of stroke: hemorrhagic and ischemic, each of which differs in symptoms and causes.

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Ischemic stroke

It develops due to a thrombus blockage of a cerebral vessel. Typically, a blood clot forms where atherosclerotic plaques are deposited in the vessels. The causes of ischemic stroke are:

  • high cholesterol;
  • excessive drinking;
  • smoking;
  • hypertension;
  • high body mass index;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • gender (in men, the attack occurs several times more often than in women);
  • untreated or undetected endocrine diseases and long-term vascular diseases;
  • genetic predisposition to vascular disease and strokes;
  • regular overvoltages and stresses;
  • the presence of diabetes;
  • narrowing of the walls of blood vessels in the brain due to atherosclerosis;
  • clogging of the cerebral arteries with emboli formed in other places;
  • deformation of the vascular walls;
  • circulatory problems in some parts of the brain;
  • atrial fibrillation (that is, the heart beats unevenly, irregularly). As a result of this, blood clots can occur in the heart and from there they can enter the brain, clogging one of the vessels.

Known as cerebral hemorrhage or intracranial bleeding. This type of ailment is much less common than ischemic strokes. It develops due to a bursting blood vessel in the brain.

The main reasons for the development of GI are considered:

  • a constant increase in blood pressure. Hypertension leads to a weakening of the cerebral vessels, as a result they can burst at any time. To increase blood pressure lead to obesity, smoking, alcohol, lack of physical activity, constant stress;
  • the presence of aneurysm of the brain;
  • abnormalities in the development of blood vessels in the brain (congenital changes in the vessels of the brain and the formation of blood vessels without a clear structure);
  • severe psychoemotional and physical strain;
  • brain injuries leading to rupture of blood vessels.

7. Taking hormonal pills

Many women are not aware that taking hormonal contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of stroke. At the same time, experts warn that hormone pills double the chance of getting a stroke.

Why can taking hormones be problematic? First, ingested estrogens can lead to blood clots.

Some women also report high blood pressure when taking birth control pills. If you are taking hormonal drugs, your doctor should regularly measure your blood pressure and monitor its changes. It is also worth reporting high pressure before taking hormone pills.

8. Early menopause or menstruation

Early onset of menstruation or menopause may be a risk factor for stroke in women. It is about the beginning of the first menstruation up to 10 years and menopause up to 45 years.

Symptoms of ischemic stroke

Additional features are:

  • Fuzzy speech.
  • Incorrect perception of reality.
  • Partial loss of ability to produce words.
  • Pulse increase.
  • Asymmetry of the muscles of the face.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Deterioration in auditory perception.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Blood pressure drops.
  • Prolonged headaches without clear localization.
  • Noises in the head.
  • Vertigo (dizziness).
  • Unreasonable nausea.
  • Numbness of the fingers.
  • Uncoordination of movements.
  • Numbness of one part of the body.
  • Inadequate response to external stimuli.
  • Temperature increase.

The typical first symptoms of a stroke in women can be supplemented with atypical (pain in one half of the face, hiccups, confusion, pain in the chest).

Differences of strokes in the male and female half of humanity

There is some difference between a stroke developing in different sexes. The differences are shown in the table.

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CRITERIAMALE GENDERFEMALE
Reasons.The abuse of alcohol and cigarettes, the wrong lifestyle.Stress and unpleasant emotional experiences, regular migraine attacks, regular use of oral contraceptives, stress, chronic fatigue, psycho-emotional overstrain.
Age.Men have an increased risk of stroke after 40 years.Women suffer from this disease more often after 60 years. But there is a high probability of a stroke at the age of 18-40 years.
SymptomsIn men, the primary symptoms are headaches, confusion, impaired speech function.In women, signs of a stroke appear more vividly and specifically. Usually it is nausea, hiccups, weakness, muscle paralysis, loss of consciousness, pain on the affected side of the body.

In addition, women suffer from stroke attacks much harder, their rehabilitation period is longer, mortality is higher due to ignoring the first signs of the disease (the so-called transient ischemic attacks).

The first signs of a stroke in a woman can be atypical, so they sometimes do not pay attention to them, believing that this is due to the characteristics of the biological rhythm of the body.

  1. Do not overweight. Do not overeat. Divide the food into small portions. Avoid a passive lifestyle.
  2. If you have diabetes, closely monitor your blood sugar.
  3. Stop smoking. Smoking helps to thicken the blood, makes the vessels inelastic.
  4. Drink alcohol in moderation or completely abandon it.
  5. Refuse oral contraceptives. Do not take them unnecessarily. The threat of a stroke is not their only side effect. Nevertheless, for some diseases, their administration is necessary.
  6. Keep your physical activity up to par. It’s not necessary to go to the weightlifting gym at age 60. But a leisurely walk in the fresh air or a weekly trip to the pool will be useful to everyone.
  7. Keep an eye on your pressure, even if you’ve never had hypo or hypertension. With age, almost everyone has problems with the cardiovascular system.
  8. Observe the regimen. Try to get enough sleep. Constant lack of sleep provokes metabolic disorders and high blood pressure. If you go to bed at 22:00, you will need less time to get a good night’s sleep than if you go to bed around midnight.
  9. Watch your diet. Follow a diet. The diet is so important that it is worth mentioning about it separately.

Complications

If a person had a stroke, the symptoms (first and secondary) were ignored, then it can cause very dangerous complications, including the following:

  • loss of visual and auditory perceptions;
  • immobility;
  • coma;
  • a problem with the speech apparatus;
  • the appearance of dangerous ailments of the heart and blood vessels;
  • memory problems and decreased mental abilities of a person;
  • epilepsy;
  • coordination of movements;
  • problems urinating;
  • death.

Recovery

The rehabilitation period of a patient with cerebrovascular accident lasts quite a long time. The first 6 months after a stroke are considered the most favorable for recovery. This time should not be wasted, you need to carefully deal with the restoration of lost body functions.

First of all, you should pay attention to the room where the patient spends his time. The room should be as bright as possible, often ventilated and it is worth it to carry out wet cleaning every day.

The mattress on the bed should be hard. For bedridden patients, it is necessary to purchase special diapers. They are also recommended to perform daily specially designed breathing exercises to maintain normal respiratory system function.

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The diet should be adjusted. Minimize salt and fat intake. Constantly monitor your blood pressure.

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Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.

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