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Stroke in Women

Stroke has affected approximately 4 million females in the United States, yet a recent survey reveals that one in five American women can’t identify the warning signs.



Stroke Risk Factors for Women

Several special factors put women at risk for stroke. A 10-fold increase in stroke risk is associated with women who experience migraines with aura.  Pre-eclampsia, a blood-pressure disorder that sometimes occurs during pregnancy, also doubles a woman’s stroke risk. Even if successfully treated for preeclampsia or high blood pressure while pregnant, women who have had this condition should be monitored for the rest of their lives.

Similarly, women 75 and older should be regularly examined for atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) as females with this condition are four to five times more likely to experience a stroke.

Risk factors for stroke common to both males and females include obesity, tobacco use, and high blood pressure.

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke for Women

Identifying the signs and symptoms of stroke is crucial to obtaining effective treatment as soon as possible and maximizing chances for recovery.

The acronym B.E. F.A.S.T. can be helpful in remembering the warning signs and taking the appropriate action

  • BALANCE: Is there a sudden loss of balance or coordination?
  • EYES: Is there sudden double or blurred vision and/or sudden trouble seeing that persists?
  • FACE: Ask the person to smile. Is one or both sides drooping?
  • ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one side drift downward? Weakness or numbness on one side?
  • SPEECH: Does the person have slurred/garbled speech? Can he/she repeat simple phrase?
  • TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately and note time symptoms began.

Strokes are the third-leading cause of death among American women. Know the facts and save a life!