In the United States, stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death among women, and is also a leading cause of severe, long-term disability.
Most people know about the acronym F.A.S.T., which stands for the following:
- F: Face-drooping, ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- A: Arm weakness, ask the person to raise both arms. Does one drift downward?
- S: Speech difficulty, ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
- T: Time to call 911, if you observe any of these symptoms call emergency services immediately
But there are symptoms among women that can indicate stroke, which often get overlooked. Because women are so accustomed to focusing on others first, they can neglect the signs of medical emergency in their own bodies.
Shermane Winter-Wofford, who suffered a stroke, remembers when she felt her symptoms like it was yesterday. But she also remembers not wanting to be a bother when her date offered to bring her to the hotel.
“I was so scared,” she says. “I was scared and anxious at the same time. I was completely ignorant to what was going on. I didn’t understand it.”
Less than an hour later, she was in the emergency room and learned she had suffered a stroke. Winter-Wofford says that by ignoring her stroke symptoms, she could have lost her life.
That's why it's so important to know the following warning signs, and don't hesitate to call emergency services.