ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
CANCER
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
CAREGIVING
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Caregivers Face Multiple Strains Tending Older Parents
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
DIET, NUTRITION
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
The High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Debate
The Best Diet? That Depends on You
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
EYE CARE, VISION
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
It's a Whole New Outlook for Cataract Patients
FITNESS
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
Want Sun Protection? Wear Red or Blue
Biomarkers May Help Measure Rate of Decline in Dementia
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
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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