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Younger people, women more likely to have stroke misdiagnosed

Proper diagnosis of a stroke is crucial, as timely anti-clotting medication and other precautions can have a huge impact on the patient's outlook. While stroke diagnosis of the elderly has improved, other segments of the population commonly suffer from misdiagnosis.

People 45 and younger are seven times more likely to be misdiagnosed after a stroke than a patient age 75 or older. Doctors are quick to consider a stroke as the cause of symptoms in elderly, but they are ruling strokes out too quickly with younger patients. That mistake can have disastrous consequences for young patients and may result in preventable disability, cognitive impairment or death.

Another group of patients who often suffer from a failure to diagnose strokes are women. Female patients are 30 percent more likely than men to be incorrectly diagnosed with migraines or ear infections when exhibiting symptoms of a stroke. There is no acceptable reason for female patients to suffer misdiagnosis disproportionately.

Source: Washington Post, "Strokes, Long On The Decline Among The Elderly, Are Rising Among Younger Adults," Liza Gross, June 16, 2014

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