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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 F.A.S.T. can be helpful in remembering the warning signs and taking the appropriate action:

  • Facial drooping, sometimes exemplified by an uneven smile.
  • Arm weakness; one arm may feel numb or have reduced function.
  • Speech difficulty as seen in the form of slurring, garbling, and other communication difficulties.
  • Time to call 911 should these symptoms present in you or a friend.

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