Young, seemingly healthy people can still be at risk for–and have–strokes, something doctors must be on the lookout for when young people present with risk factors or symptoms of stroke.
This is not breaking news. NPR reported in 2014 that in emergency rooms–a likely place for a younger person to end up if having a stroke–ER doctors are most likely to miss stroke symptoms in the young. Women and minorities are also at increased risk of an ER doctor missing signs of a stroke:
A study from Johns Hopkins University suggests that ER doctors may be up to 30 percent more likely to overlook signs of stroke in women and minorities. And for patients under 45, the odds are much greater than for those who are older.
“Younger people are less likely to have a stroke, but when they have that stroke, they’re much more likely to be missed,” says Dr. David Newman-Toker, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins and the study’s lead author.
Yet, the problem persists.
One explanation is that people wrongly assume strokes only occur in the elderly. Maybe that’s an acceptable mistake of regular folks. But emergency room doctors should know better than to assume young people can’t have a stroke.
Another possible explanation is that doctors can be biased against complaints from certain groups–particularly women reporting pain–and simply do not take them as seriously as if a man was complaining.
That’s just not acceptable.
Have you experienced a nurse or doctor not taking your complaints of headache, pain, or other symptoms seriously? Take a second to share in the comments below.
(If you believe a healthcare provider failed to diagnose your or a loved one’s stroke, and would like to discuss with a stroke misdiagnosis lawyer, do not comment below–it’s public! Check out our 5 Steps to Find the Perfect Stroke Lawyer for You, or contact us.)