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Women at higher risk of stroke than men

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While signs of stroke are the same in men and women, including sudden numbness or weakness in the arms, sagging facial features, slurred speech and comprehension difficulties, “women are more likely to have a change in their consciousness and ability to communicate,” noted Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, associate professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC., and leader of a panel of experts in developing the American Heart Association’s new guidelines

While the most common risk factors include old age, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), and atrial fibrillation, she also added that women often run greater risks of having a stroke due hormonal changes resulting from both the use of birth control pills, as well as from pregnancy.

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, causing cerebral tissue to die. It is now considered to be the 2nd leading cause of death worldwide, and the 3rd leading cause of death for American women. Risk factors for stroke include old age, high blood pressure, previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), diabetes, high cholesterol, tobacco smoking and atrial fibrillation.

For more info. visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.

Note: Everyone is encouraged to Go Red For Women today, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, by wearing something red to show they support in behind the fight women’s No. 1 killer, heart disease.

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