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What 10 Conditions Mimic the Symptoms of a Stroke?

Wondering if a stroke can be confused for a different medical condition? It most certainly can…

The human body is a weird and wonderful thing, full of complexities, which makes diagnosis of certain medical conditions particularly tricky. A stroke is known for causing weakness in the arms and legs, slurred speech, and facial dropping. The question is, do these symptoms mimic other medical conditions?

The truth is, yes, and this may lead to a misdiagnosis of either a stroke or another condition that causes similar symptoms. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis of a stroke can be devastating for the victim, which is why it’s important to know what it may get confused with.

In this article, we’ll be taking you through 10 of the conditions that have stroke-like symptoms. Take a look…

What Conditions Mimic the Symptoms of a Stroke?

WebMD and Very Well Health both have a list of conditions that may be confused for stroke due to their similar symptoms. Here, we’ve accumulated the two lists to provide a comprehensive guide for you to follow:

Migraines

Migraines are extreme bouts of pain in the head, which can cause dizziness, temporary blindness, and pain. The causes of migraines are unknown, but it’s thought that they are brought on by abnormal brain activity which disrupts nerve signals. Due to its effect on your sight, as well as the potential for numbness in the limbs and slurred speech, it can sometimes be confused with stroke.

Low/High Blood Sugar

Problems with your blood sugar can cause an array of issues. These can include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling around the mouth
  • Headaches
  • Inability to move one side of the body
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision

As you can tell, many of them mimic the well-known symptoms of stroke. Although low or high blood sugar can have a negative effect on the body, it’s definitely not as serious as a one, though!

Seizures

According to the Mayo Clinic, a seizure is “a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain”. This can cause changes in behaviour, and sensations of numbness, weakness, or tingling in the arms of legs. A person who has two or more seizures within a 24-hour period is considered to have epilepsy.

Major seizures may even cause something called Todd’s paralysis, where one side of the body can’t move. It can also make it difficult to see properly, and sometimes speech can be slurred and disjointed. Naturally, this sounds remarkably similar to the symptoms of a stroke.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the nerve cells in your spinal cord and brain. Naturally, this can cause vision problems as well as tingling and numbness in the limbs. Just like a stroke, MS can be life-threatening, so seeking medical attention is paramount.

Brain Tumour

Brain tumours can cause symptoms such as confusion, limb weakness, headache, trouble with balance, and struggling to talk or see. They are just as potentially dangerous as a stroke, so it’s important that you seek medical attention as soon as these symptoms occur.

Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s Palsy occurs rather randomly, and usually appearsgradually over a short period of time. The causes are largely unknown, but some believe it may be brought on by infection.

The NHS website suggests you should see your GP if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Weakness or total paralysis on one side of your face
  • A drooping eyelid
  • A drooping corner of the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of taste
  • Eye irritation, for example dryness or more tears

Although it’s not life-threatening, this condition can lead to permanent damage to muscles in the face. This can lead to drooping in the face which may last a lifetime if not properly treated. Either way, the similarity of these symptoms to a stroke means seeking medical attention is paramount.

Sepsis

Similarly life-threatening is sepsis, otherwise known as blood poisoning. It’s caused by an infection anywhere in the body which makes its way into the bloodstream, requiring prompt medical attention.

Sepsis, as well as infections in the brain like Encephalitis, can cause numbness and weakness, as well as confusion. Of course, these are common stroke symptoms, and require immediate medical care. 

Conversion Disorder

Conversion disorder is a mental condition which is used to describe neurological symptoms that cannot be medically explained. These symptoms are very similar to that of a stroke, and might include:

  • Paralysis
  • Blindness
  • Tunnel vision
  • Trouble hearing
  • Speech problems
  • Problems with the nervous system
  • Loss of voice
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Balance problems
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Weird jerky movements

Dizziness

Dizziness is a general symptom that can be caused by a whole host of medical conditions. Whilst many are non-life threatening, persistent dizziness does require medical intervention. What’s more, if this dizziness is coupled with other symptoms, the same applies.

Neuropathy

Tingling in the arms and legs is most certainly a stroke symptom, but it is also a symptom of what’s known as neuropathy. This is a condition where the nerves are eitherdamaged or malfunctioning. Neuropathy is not life-threatening however, due to similarities with a stroke, you might feel more comfortable seeking an expert opinion.

Think You Know Your Stroke from the Others?

As you can see, the symptoms of a stroke are mirrored across a huge array of medical conditions. There are more where that come from, but these are just some that you may experience.

Ultimately, the best thing to do when you experience numbness, tingling, pain, facial weakness, slurred speech, confusion, and vision problems is to seek medical attention. This way, you can be certain about what you’re experiencing. After all, if it turns out to be life-threatening, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.

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