Recent reports are highlighting the unique and dangerous stroke risks for women. Contrary to popular belief, stroke occurs more often in women than in men. Most women believe that breast cancer is a more prevalent threat to women than stroke. However, the National Stroke Association clearly states the deadly truth that “stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer every year”. It’s important to recognize the stroke risks and symptoms unique to women.
Risk factors for stroke in both men and women include: age, high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol.
Additional risk factors unique to women include:
*Use of birth control pills (especially for women who smoke, have hypertension, or have blood clotting issues)
*Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
*Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
Women also experience unique stroke symptoms in addition to those seen in both men and women. Common symptoms for stroke in both men and women include the sudden onset of numbness or weakness on one side of the body (in face, arm, or leg), confusion or trouble speaking, vision issues in one or both eyes, loss of balance or dizziness, and severe headache.
Stroke symptoms unique to women include the sudden onset of:
*Pain in the face or limbs
*Shortness of breath
Time is a critical factor in surviving stroke. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
For more information on stroke, visit the National Stroke Association.