ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Traditional Chinese Therapy May Help Ease Eczema
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
CANCER
Gene Studies Reveal Cancer's Secrets
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Vitamin D May Improve Melanoma Survival
CAREGIVING
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
EYE CARE, VISION
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
FITNESS
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Hoping for a Happy Family Holiday? Here's How
Eat Light - Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Add your Article

ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- An 18-year-old boy complaining of numbness at a Detroit emergency room was discharged after health-care professionals determined he was drunk.

A 24-year-old woman with sharp pain in her left eye and loss of feeling in her right arm was told by ER doctors that she had a migraine.

And a 29-year-old man with slurred speech, a facial droop and vertigo was diagnosed with peripheral vertigo during his emergency room visit.

In fact, each one of these younger adults had had a stroke, which went undetected because of their age, according to new research to be presented Wednesday at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in San Diego.

The research, looking at ER visits by people under 50, found that the risk of misdiagnosis of a stroke increases as patient age goes down.

"Emergency room personnel need to have a heightened sensitivity to the possibility of stroke in people . . . under 45," said senior study author Dr. Seemant Chaturvedi, director of the stroke program at Wayne State University in Detroit. "There needs to be a solid familiarity with the combination of symptoms that would indicate stroke rather than something more benign."

"Identifying what we consider to be an 'old person's disease' in young people is always a challenge because there's denial on the part of patients and denial on the part of caregivers," added Dr. Robert Greenberg, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and vice chair of emergency medicine with Scott & White in Temple. "Everybody should be given a stroke assessment. If you see someone who comes in with dizziness and trouble walking, it should cross your mind."

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Failure to identify and treat a stroke quickly can lead to severe disability, and even loss of life.

The study authors looked at 57 people under the age of 50 who went to a Detroit emergency room with various symptoms. The participants were equally divided in gender, and their median age was 34.

All but one of the patients had had a stroke. But eight patients, or 14 percent of the total, were misdiagnosed by hospital staff.

"Those under the age of 35 were misdiagnosed one-third of the time," Chaturvedi added. And strokes occurring in the back of the brain were more often misdiagnosed, possibly because symptoms were varied.

But such mistakes may be all too easy to make, Greenberg pointed out.

"These [cases] are all unusual, because you don't [often] see stroke in young patients," he said. "The truth is, distinguishing symptoms such as vertigo or inner ear disorders and [stroke] is pretty difficult for anybody."

"One premise in medicine and society that we all ignore a lot is that age doesn't protect you from illness," Greenberg added. "Anybody of any age can get just about anything, [but] the likelihood of this occurring in a young person is way less. The challenge is to be able to identify atypical presentations of a common disease or common presentations of an unusual disease."

A second study to be presented at the conference found that pharmacies don't regularly recommend that callers with stroke symptoms call 9-1-1.

For their findings, researchers at West Virginia University in Morgantown surveyed 71 pharmacies and found that only one out of every five people who answered the store's phones recommended that potential stroke victims call emergency medical services.

Stroke patients who get to the hospital via EMS get there faster and are more likely to get clot-busting treatment, the study authors pointed out.

Stroke experts say that people of all ages should rush to the hospital if they have any of these symptoms: numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, particularly if it only occurs on one side of the body; confusion and trouble speaking; problems with vision; dizziness or loss of balance, or sudden headache.

-Amanda Gardner

More information

The American Heart Association has more on stroke warning signs.



SOURCES: Seemant Chaturvedi, M.D., professor, neurology, and director, stroke program, Wayne State University, Detroit; Robert Greenberg, M.D., assistant professor, emergency medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and vice chair, emergency medicine, Scott & White, Temple; Feb. 18, 2009, presentation, International Stroke Conference, San Diego

Last Updated: Feb. 18, 2009

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