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Is it a stroke or a headache?

by , 16 October 2013

In breaking health news this afternoon: Former Wallabies coach and now coach of Japan, Eddie Jones is in hospital after suffering a minor stroke. This, after he allegedly complained of an excruciating headache on Tuesday night. Thank goodness team staff took him to the hospital. After all, most of us don't know how to tell the difference between a headache and a stroke…

Late on Tuesday, 53-year-old Jones complained of a headache. Today, he’s in hospital after doctors discovered Jones was showing signs of a “light cerebral infarction” or stroke, reports sportslive.co.za.

While we wish Jones a speedy recovery, his story should serve as a warning to you! Especially if you don’t know what separate a headache from a stroke.

When it comes to strokes – every second counts!

The window of opportunity to successfully treat a stroke is short – about three hours – which is why every minute counts, warns everydayhealth.com.

Sadly, 70% of people who suffer a minor stroke don’t recognise their symptoms!

The reason? They don’t know if their headache is actually a sign of something far more sinister.

So how do you tell the difference?

Stroke or headache? Here’s how to tell the difference…

The reason people are so confused is that headaches are a stroke symptom many people don’t even know about. But they’re a serious warning sign.

And that’s why you need to know that a stroke headache is one that hits you hard, fast, and with no apparent cause. And no, they don’t feel like migraines either.

In fact, as Dr Alberts, director of the stroke programme at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago told everydayhealth.com, it’s a “sudden onset of the worst headache of your life.”

In addition, the New York Times says there are three more signs that can help you differentiate the two. That’s because sharp pain in your head that accompanies a stroke can:

  1. Cause temporarily dim, grey, blurry, or lost vision
  2. Result in tingling or numbness in the mouth, cheeks, or gums
  3. Is usually located in the back of your head

Now you know! If, like Eddie Jones you experience an unbearable headache you can’t explain, don’t ignore it. Doing so could cost you your life.

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