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Stroke Risk in Women, Warning Signs and Treatments to Mitigate Risks

Many Americans do not realize that stroke is the third leading cause of death of women in the United States. There are some differences in the symptoms and warning signs of stroke in women, as well as different treatments to help them to mitigate their risk of stroke. Women are more likely to exhibit symptoms such as fainting, agitation, and hallucination than their male counterparts. Because of the differences in the symptoms that females exhibit prior to stroke, the signs are often overlooked or dismissed and stroke can and does unfortunately occur.

There are also certain conditions that when present, can increase a woman’s likelihood of experiencing a stroke. In fact, pregnancy can elevate a women’s risk of stroke considerably, a fact that is not known by many people. Migraine sufferers, those that also experience aura headaches, are also more at risk for stroke at a rate of 2.5 times those who do not suffer from aura migraines. It is not always known that stroke kills twice as many women per year than breast cancer, a fact that many Americans find surprising. If you suffer from migraines, it is important to discuss the increased chance of stroke that affects you and gain a clear indication of the signs and symptoms of stroke in women.

Women who smoke also experience a higher incidence of stroke, which provides even more incentive for female adults to quit smoking. Quitting smoking can help your overall health and wellness level to increase significantly, and it is often one of the first behavior modifications that doctors recommend to their patients. Birth control pills can also play a part in the increased risk of stroke in women, and patients who take hormonal birth control should have their blood pressure monitored on a regular basis. Additionally, women who are older than age 75 should be routinely screened for symptoms of atrial fibrillation, or Afib.

If you are a woman who is getting older, it is important that you are aware of the signs and symptoms of stroke and minimize any behaviors that can contribute to raising your risk of stroke. Discuss your overall health with your doctor to ensure that you understand the early warning signs of stroke in women. If you suffer from high blood pressure or experience migraine headaches with aura, you may be at a higher risk than your peers.

Women who are pregnant should have their blood pressure monitored on a regular basis and keep their doctor informed of any changes to their overall health and well-being. It is important that women who are on hormonal birth control also have their blood pressure checked by their doctor on a regular basis; women on hormonal contraceptives should not smoke as this can significantly raise their chance of smoke.

Stroke is one of the leading killers of women but its early warning signs and symptoms often go unnoticed. If you are in a high-risk group for stroke, it is a good idea to consult with your primary care doctor to inform yourself of what you can do to minimize your risk.