When asked about health risks for women many will list breast cancer as the top cause of death. In the USA, one in five women will have a stroke, and strokes kill twice as many women as breast cancer does. Women have unique risk factors for stroke, and six out of every ten people who die from stroke are women.
Stroke risk in women is highest during pregnancy, for women who take birth control pills, and for women with high blood pressure. It also doubles at midlife and remains doubled for roughly ten years after entering menopause.
To reduce the risk, it is very important to check blood pressure frequently, and work on keeping it under control. Be physically active, eat a healthy diet with a low salt content, limit your alcohol intake, and avoid smoking.
Signs of a Stroke
- Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, an arm, or a leg
- Sudden confusion, problems speaking, or problems understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing with one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, loss of balance, dizziness, and/or lack of coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you think you or someone around you might be having a stroke, don’t ignore it. If you’re by yourself, call 911. Don’t drive yourself to the doctor.
If you think someone with you might be having a stroke, do these simple tests:
- Ask them to smile.. Does one side of the face droop?
- Ask them to raise their arms and observe whether one arm drifts down.
- Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Slurred and strange speech can indicate a stroke.
If you see any of these signs, call 911. It is helpful to note the time the symptoms first appeared, because the most effective treatments must be applied within the firs]t three hours.