A fact many might not know is that strokes affect more women than men. Over 55,000 more women have a stroke each year compared to men, and they have a higher mortality rate. A stroke is more likely to serve as the first sign of cardiovascular disease in women than in men. The question becomes why is this? A recent study has complied a list of female-specific risk factors.
These risk factors are:
• History of pregnancy complications (gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.)
• Beginning menstruation before age 10
• Low levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS)
• Entering menopause before age 45
• Use of birth control pills
These tend to be the most commonly cited reasons for the disparity in strokes between women and men. However, researchers stress that few women in the general population with these factors will experience a stroke, so don’t panic if some of these apply to you. It is important to be aware of potentially heightened risk, though, and make healthy life choices in response.
Demel, Stacie L., et al. “Stroke Risk Factors Unique to Women.” Stroke, 1 Jan. 2018, stroke.ahajournals.org/content/early/2018/02/07/STROKEAHA.117.018415.