In Case of Emergency

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Women and Stroke

FACT:2xStroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer does every year.

Some risk factors are the same for men and women: a family history of stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, being overweight and lack of physical activity.

However, women have risks unique to them. Those include:

  • Taking birth control pills. Some research shows that using birth control pills increases the risk of stroke. The greatest concern about using oral contraceptives is for women with additional risk factors, such as age, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • Being pregnant. Stroke risk increases during a normal pregnancy due to natural changes in the body such as increased blood pressure and stress on the heart.
  • Using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a combined hormone therapy of progestin and estrogen, to relieve menopausal symptoms.
  • Having a thick waist and high triglyceride (blood fat) level. Post-menopausal women with a waist size larger than 35.2 inches and a triglyceride level higher than 128 milligrams per liter may have a five-fold increased risk for stroke.
  • Suffering from migraine headaches. Migraines can increase a woman's stroke risk three to six times, and most people in the U.S. who suffer migraines are women.

Common stroke symptoms seen in both men and women:

SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding

SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes

SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause

It is important to recognize stroke symptoms and act quickly by CALLING 9-1-1

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