Although men and women both experience strokes, an interruption of blood flow to the brain, their symptoms can vary. That’s why the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association developed guidelines for healthcare professionals to screen and treat women before strokes occur.
Further, strokes are not necessarily a phenomenon of old age. Family history, pregnancy and certain medications can increase their risk. Every year more than 100,000 American women under the age of 65 experience strokes. Look at the list below to see if you have a pre-existing condition that could cause a stroke, then consult your doctor about preventive measures.
Unique stroke risk factors for women include:
+ High blood pressure or pregnancy-related high blood pressure
+ Birth control pills
+ Migraines with aura (flashing dots, blind spots)
+ Diabetes or lupus
+ Clotting disorders or previous blood clots
+ Hormone replacement therapy
+ Atrial fibrillation