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Illnesses or Diseases That Mimic Stroke Symptoms

author image Dr. Franchesca Vermillion
Dr. Franchesca Vermillion is based in Portland, Ore. and has been writing health-related material for her patients and for public speaking events for more than four years. Vermillion obtained her Bachelor of Arts in molecular biology from the University of Denver in 2001 and her Chiropractic Physician's Degree from University of Western States in 2006.
Illnesses or Diseases That Mimic Stroke Symptoms
Male falling down stairs. Photo Credit: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

The brain needs both blood (oxygen) and sugar (glucose) to function properly. A stroke is loss of brain function from loss of blood flow to the brain or a ceribrovascular accident (CVA). A stroke is a medical emergency. The illnesses that mimic stroke symptoms are also other types of medical emergencies and will require someone calling 911. Stroke symptoms are categorized as a change in behavior. When talking to him, he may use nonsense words and have a hard time moving parts of his body and face. A stroke may cause loss of consciousness but continue to talk to him for he may still understand what you are saying.

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Postical State

A postical state is a state following a seizure. This period lasts between 5 to 30 minutes. After a seizure the muscles go from being tense and twitching to a relaxed state, to the point of being floppy. Breathing will appear labored due to all the work the body did during the seizure. Oxygen will be at a low level in the body from the seizing, so he will appear confused or even semiconscious. Parts of the body will appear paralyzed. The body needs to be able to breath hard to balance out the lactic acids from the seizing, so the longer and harder the seizure, the longer the postical state. Additionally during this state, he will lose bladder control. As the body continues to gain more oxygen, he will regain consciousness and become aware of his surroundings again. Initially the postical state will be similar to a stroke, but over time a postical state will resolve whereas a stroke will get worse.


The brain will lose proper functioning with loss of oxygen or with loss of glucose. Hypoglycemia is when the blood glucose levels drop below. Similar symptoms to stroke can be hemiparisis (partial body paralysis). The difference is that a stroke patient may still be alert and attempting to communicate normally, whereas someone with low blood sugar almost always has an altered mental state. This condition can continue to progress leading to seizures and postical states as well.

Subdural or Epidural Bleeding

This type of bleeding is a collection of blood near the skull that presses on the brain. Bleeding like this is usually caused by trauma or a weakness in the blood vessels that causes them to rupture. The symptoms may not be rapidly apparent after trauma if it is a slow bleed. Headache is often associated with these conditions. As the bleeding grows and continues to push on the brain the symptoms to stroke will be similar in that he will have difficulty communicating and moving.

Less Common Illnesses

There are a few less common illnesses or diseases that mimic stroke are brain tumors, systemic (whole body) infections, and toxins in the body that will disturb metabolic functioning. It is important to get information from the person who is ill, the area around you, or information from friends and family to get a better idea of what may be going on. All of these conditions will still require immediate help from medical professionals.

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