Stroke Smarts: Getting Acquainted With the New Stroke Guidelines for Women

Ladies, we’re different from the fellas.  Mentally, emotionally, physically - the list goes on. One of our more important differences is the guidelines in place for optimal health, specifically when it comes to the risks of suffering a stroke.

Though we share many of the same risks as men when it comes to strokes, we do have some uniques risks that are based on things like pregnancy and hormone use. For women, stroke is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., following heart disease and cancer, prompting the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to release new guidelines for women that were published in the journal Stroke.  What’s more, women are more adversely affected by strokes than men and make up more than half the population of stroke victims in this country annually.  That said, it’s time to brush up on the basics.

First, there are the obvious, “common sense” recommendations that we should all follow, male or female.  Limiting alcohol consumption, staying physically active, abstaining from smoking, and maintaining a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and low in saturated fats are important choices for all of us.

For women particularly though, there are other gender-specific guidelines we need to keep in mind.  Things like migraines, diabetes, depression, abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), high blood pressure (especially when combined with pregnancy or taking birth control), certain pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, and our longer life expectancy play a note-worthy role in our risk for suffering a stroke.

Simply having an awareness of these potential risk factors empowers us to take an active position in our well-being and health care.  It’s important to share any and all health information with your physicians to facilitate the proper steps for prevention and monitoring.  At Women’s Wellness Institute, we provide our patients with a detailed questionnaire about their health history as well as in-depth discussions during your visits, which helps us work as a team to maximize your care and keep you thriving.  If you experience any conditions that contribute to your risk of stroke or are having a difficult time breaking unhealthy lifestyle habits, Dr. Brady can discuss them with you, run any necessary tests, and make recommendations to get you (and keep you) on the road to wellness!

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