Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women and although the symptoms of a stroke are usually hard to mistake, there can be differences between men and women when it comes to certain symptoms — and a new study from Ohio State University shows many women don’t know what those difference are.

What makes this so important is that women often don’t recognize they are having a stroke, so there’s a delay in getting treatment — treatment that can prevent the stroke from causing serious or permanent damage.

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Now some symptoms do tend to be similar — we use the acronym “FAST” to remind you of that.

– stands for “Face” – meaning one side of the face droops, or one side doesn’t work like the other.

– stands for “Arm” – meaning weakness using an arm, for example not being able to lift both arms equally. This one also applies to differences in how a leg works or feels.

– stands for “Speech” – stroke can give you slurred speech or problems understanding what someone is saying to you.

– stands for “Time” – call 911 — don’t delay.

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Now here is what’s different — three symptoms more common in women:

– Dizziness – very unsteady, wobbly, or having to hold onto an object for support
– Headache – a very severe headache — not a run-of-the-mill tension headache
– Third (here’s the odd one) – hiccups — sometimes with chest discomfort but in any case it’s accompanied by other symptoms plus hiccups — meaning not just a routine case of hiccups and you feel fine type of hiccups.

Most strokes are caused by a blood clot in the brain. We have medicines to dissolve those clots but it needs to be given within 3 hours to be its most effective — that’s why early recognition is important.

And don’t forget that youth is not always a protector — women tend to have strokes at younger ages, and the risk factors for those strokes in younger women include things such as pregnancy, the pill, migraines, and auto-immune diseases such as lupus.

When in doubt, seek help!

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Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida