Stroke—a real risk for women

By Lauren Edwards • Published: September 30th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When we hear the word “stroke”, we often think of an elderly person. Yet in reality, the statistics on strokes are quite different… and shocking, especially if you are a woman.

According to the American Stroke Association, each year there are more than a hundred-thousand women in the U-S under age 65 who have a stroke.

It seems ironic… women are taught to take care of their bone, breast and heart health, but some fail to consider the possibility of ever having stroke. Yet women between the ages of forty-five and fifty-four are actually twice as likely as men to experience one.

And no matter what her age, a woman who has suffered a stroke is more likely to become mentally and physically impaired than a man. Often, women who have a stroke often experience it in a different manner than men, sometimes making it harder to diagnose. Confusion, pain or loss of consciousness… symptoms not often associated with stroke… are often present in women. But women can take steps to protect themselves. Stroke risk factors include diabetes, hypertension and obesity, so getting high blood pressure and cholesterol under control are both key, as most strokes are caused by clots brought on by such conditions. By keeping high blood pressure and cholesterol in check, women can virtually cut their risk of stroke in half. Also, taking steps to exercise regularly, eating more fish and fresh produce and not smoking can help lower the risk.