ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
CANCER
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
CAREGIVING
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EPA Alerts Seniors to Carbon Monoxide Dangers
EYE CARE, VISION
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
FITNESS
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Soy Protein Doesn't Lower Cholesterol
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Brain Scans Show How Humans 'Hear' Emotion
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
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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