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Conditions that mimic stroke symptoms

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2016 | Failure to Diagnose |

Strokes remain one of the most common causes of natural deaths both in New York City and throughout the rest of the U.S. Information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that one person dies from this condition very four minutes in America. The CDC also reports that the most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blood clot inhibiting blood flow to the brain. The most effective treatment for an ischemic stroke is administering tissue plasminogen activator, which works to dissolve clots and minimize the damage done.

According to the Journal of Emergency Medical Services, the window in which an administration of tPA is most effective at limiting any of the disabling effects of a stoke is 4.5 hours. Thus, it is vital that stroke symptoms are recognized early and immediate care is sought at the nearest hospital emergency department. Such symptoms can include:

  •          Facial numbness or droop
  •          Vertigo
  •          Reduced sensation of touch
  •          Localized paralysis

The onset of any of these symptoms should prompt one to seek emergency medical care rather than going to a primary care physician or clinic. Such a delay in receiving treatment could have devastating consequences.

As important as getting treated immediately, however, is having a doctor successfully diagnose one’s stroke upon presenting at an ED. The trouble is that there are other less-serious conditions that can mimic the effects of a stroke. The JEMS lists these as being migraines and seizures, as well as hypo- and hyperglycemia. A comprehensive medical examination, along with an assessment of a patient’s medical history, may be what is required in order to avoid a misdiagnosis.