What the Yuck: Paralyzing hickeys
February 5th, 2012
09:15 AM ET

What the Yuck: Paralyzing hickeys

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: I read about a woman who got a hickey that led to a stroke that partially paralyzed her! How is that possible?

A: Crazy, right? But it can happen.

A hickey is really nothing more than a bruise that occurs when the force of someone sucking on your neck is strong enough to rupture superficial blood vessels.

In the case that was in the news, it seems that the hickey was located near a major artery, and the suction was tremendous enough to create a blood clot which led to the stroke.

Honestly, though, your chances of getting a life-threatening hickey are extremely small (unless, perhaps, you’re dating a vampire).

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.