Women and Stroke
A stroke occur when blood supply to parts of your brain is interrupted or reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Each year more women have strokes than men. A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize brain damage, disability and potential complications.
Signs and symptoms include weakness of arms and legs, numbness of the face, trouble with seeing in one eye, trouble speaking or understanding, sudden severe headache, dizziness, or altered consciousness. If you think you may be having these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Do not wait to see if symptoms stop as every minute counts. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability.
“ Research shows that prompt treatment of stroke is the key to prevent disability and death. The earlier the treatment is done, the better chances of prevention.”
Risk factors in women
- Age > 50 years old
- Family history of stroke
- Heart disease – atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease
- History of stroke (recurrent rate = 10% in the first year)
Body mass index (BMI) = body weight divided by the square of body height in meter. For female, BMI should be less than 23 and waist circumference should be less than 32 inches (36 inches in male).
- Lack of exercise (should exercise 30 minutes at least 3 times/week)
High blood pressure can lead to stroke
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening your brain's blood vessels, causing them to narrow, rupture or leak. Having normal blood pressure (120/80 mmHg) can reduce the risk of a stroke. For best results avoid smoking and drinking while eating a healthy diet, and regularly exercise as it can lower your blood pressure.
- Controlled blood pressure
- Maintain healthy weight
- Eat healthy diet
- Regular exercise
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Have annual health check-up
“Regular health check-up is the best way to reduce the risks of a stroke.”
Unique risk factors in women
In addition to the general risk factors like high blood pressure, family history, smoking, lack of exercise, and being overweight, as a woman you are faced with unique risk factors which include:
- Taking birth control pills
- Being pregnant - due to natural changes in the body such as increased blood pressure and stress on the heart
- Suffering from migraine headaches