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Why are strokes sometimes misdiagnosed?

No one likes to think about the fact that doctors are human too and sometimes make mistakes. One area where medical providers mess up is with a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, which sometimes can lead to lifelong disability or death, especially in the case of strokes.

Stroke misdiagnosis and its effects

According to a recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers, strokes are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions. Often, doctors or health care providers mistake stroke symptoms as not being something serious.

Strokes are also a condition where receiving immediate treatment can have a big effect. For those suffering an ischemic stroke, an estimated 87% of patients, receiving blood clot-busting medicine can limit the stroke’s damage, leaving some patients with few lingering effects. However, those drugs aren’t effective if more than three hours has elapsed since the stroke began. The more time a blot clot hampers blood’s ability to reach the brain, the more damage that occurs.

Preventing misdiagnosis

One of the best ways to prevent a stroke misdiagnosis is to know the symptoms and seek treatment immediately. Some of the most common stroke symptoms include the following:

  • Sudden confusion or slurred speech
  • Sudden paralysis in the face or arms, especially if one eye begins drooping or one arm drifts down when you try to lift it
  • A severe headache with no known cause

Other stroke symptoms that may not as recognized easily are sudden confusion, dizziness or difficulty seeing in one or both eyes.

Seeking immediate medical attention and being an advocate for your own health (or a loved one’s) will be your best defense against the lasting effects of a stroke. If these symptoms noted above appear, know that a stroke could be causing them.

If you or a loved one suffers a stroke that was misdiagnosed or had a delayed diagnosis, which resulted in life-long effects, consult a personal injury attorney. You may about have a medical malpractice claim that could help pay for your care costs.