Strokes are the third leading cause of death in women. Surprisingly, women seem to be more susceptible to this health issue than men since nearly 60 % of stroke deaths occur in women.
It is very important to know that 80 % of strokes can be prevented with proper diet, lifestyle, exercises and medical care. Also, women must learn how to identify the signs and what can be done to prevent this deadly problem.
What Causes a Stroke?
Nearly 800.000 Americans have strokes every year. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is reduced or interrupted . This deprives the brain of nutrients and oxygen which can cause the brain cells to be destroyed. Another cause for a stroke can be a blocked artery or the leaking of a blood vessel.
The recovery after a stroke is possible, but about two-thirds of the victims end up with having some kind of disability. In other words they are paralyzed, unable to speak normally or walk on their own.
Why Are Women So Likely to Get Strokes?
There are lot of factors that contribute to this occurrence in both men and women. Some of them are lack of physical activity and exercises, obesity, high cholesterol levels and smoking that results in clogged blood vessels. However, there are specific reasons why women have strokes more often:
Women Have Different Hormones
Estrogen and progestin in hormone replacement therapy and contraceptives have been associated with increased prevalence of stroke. Although most women can safely use hormone replacement therapy, overweight women and smokers smokers have a higher risk for having a stroke.
Women Get More Autoimmune Diseases
Women suffer from autoimmune diseases three times more than men. These diseases include lupus and other inflammatory diseases that lead to blood clot formations or blood vessel breakage.
Women Get More Migraines
Migraines with aura increase the risk for stroke in women two and a half times.
Women Aren’t Studied
Most test, treatments and studies throughout history are focused on men, neglecting the fact that women have different risks for stroke and similar diseases and that they respond differently to a particular treatment.
Women Are Subtle
Because of the fact that stroke symptoms in women are more subtle, most of the times they’re not taken seriously. Also when women arrive at the hospital having the symptoms for stroke, they are often misguided until it’s too late.
What Are the Signs of Strokes in Women?
According to The American Heart Association, everyone should be familiar with the the acronym FAST:
- F- Face Weakness
- A-Arm Weakness
- S-Speech difficulty
- T-Time to call 9-1-1
Other symptoms that women experience and that are different to those typical for men are the following :
- Nausea or vomiting
- General Weakness
- Sudden behavioral change
- Confusion, unresponsiveness or disorientation
- Loss of consciousness or fainting
Sources: www.lifetimedaily.com; www.mayoclinic.org