Women & Stroke
According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death for American women and claims more than twice as many lives as breast cancer. One-fourth of the women who have a stroke in a given year are under the age of 65.
Today, more than 2 million American women are living with the consequences of stroke. 31% of these stroke survivors will need help caring for themselves, 20 % will need help walking, and 71% will have an impaired ability to work.
Women are more likely to recover from stroke than their male counterparts, possibly because they suffer less brain damage from stroke than men do.
Specific risks for women:
Although risk factors for men and women are basically the same, including a family history of stroke, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, heart disease and high red blood cell count, some additional risk factors affect only women.
For example, a woman's risk of stroke increases during pregnancy when her blood pressure may go up. A young woman who has migraines and uses oral contraceptives may also be at greater risk for stroke than one who does not use this type of medication.
Reducing your risk of stroke:
- If your blood pressure is high, talk to your doctor about how to reduce it
- Quit smoking and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke
- If you have diabetes, keep it under control with diet and prescribed medications
- Reduce your risk of heart disease by reducing high blood levels of cholesterol and avoiding saturated fats
- Keep physically active
- Reduce excess weight or maintain a healthy weight
- Moderate use of alcohol