There is a general misconception that stroke is a health risk that’s mostly associated with men. But the National Stroke Association reports that over 55,000 more women than men die from stroke every year. This makes it the 3rd highest cause of death among women.
This can be quite surprising considering that men are the ones who mostly engage in unhealthy habits. They are the ones who engage more in smoking and drinking. Despite that it is women who have higher number of fatalities from smoke.
So What is Stroke?
When there is a blockage / clot in a vein reaching the brain, it results in the brain being unable to receive nutrients and oxygen through blood. This results in a stroke. When there is lack of blood and oxygen, it causes the brain cells to start dying.
The type of stroke will vary based on the underlying cause.
– Ischemic stroke – Occurs when there is a clot
– Hemorrhagic stroke – Occurs when there are blood vessel ruptures
– Transient ischemic attack (TIA) – Also called mini stroke and occurs when there is temporary clot
Mini Stroke or TIA
There are two sides to a mini stroke.
– It is going to clear up itself
– But it must be seen as a serious warning sign of future problems
You don’t want to ignore a mini stroke because it can be life threatening. It can last from anything as short as few moments to as long as a day. However, you should get emergency medical attention without concern how much long it lasts.
What makes a mini stroke unique is that mostly women are unable to realize they are having a stroke. That’s why it’s so important that you already know what the signs and symptoms are. This will help you in preventing any long-term damage by it.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms of stroke, you should not overlook them. You should immediately call 911.
Causes & Signs/Symptoms of Stroke in Women
Men are at higher risk of getting a stroke compared to women, for any age group. Ironically, it is more number of women who die every year due to it. What is even more surprising is that this gap continues to widen. So what causes women to be at a higher level of risk of dying from it?
It is well known that more men drink alcohol and don’t visit doctors as often as women. They also eat more unhealthy foods and smoke more. Despite this, there are some major differences between men and women that cause women to be at higher risk of stroke.
One of the important factors that cause enhanced stroke risk in women is that they live longer than men (on an average). The stroke mortality increases with age. However, there is more to it why women are at higher risk of dying from it.
What is the Stroke Risk in Women?
There are some risk factors related to stroke which are common to both men and women. These factors are as following:
– Lack of exercise
– High levels of cholesterol
– Being overweight
– High level of blood pressure
– Cardiovascular disease
– Drug usage and cigarette smoking
However, some risk factors are there which are specifically important in increasing stroke risk in women. They include:
– Having migraines with auras
– Taking birth control pills
– Mental health
– Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT
– Use of birth control pills
– Being pregnant
These risks are unique to women and don’t affect men.
Stroke in Women & The Symptoms
Symptoms of stroke like confusion, numbness, weakness, dizziness, vision troubles, and headaches (due to known causes) are common among both men and women.
However, there are symptoms which are unique to women. If you know how to identify these signs of stroke, you can save your own or your loved one’s life. These include:
– Behavioral changes
– Shortness of breath
– Nausea / vomiting
Before you desire to spot a stroke, you should know that it is important to think of FAST.
FAST has been coined by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. It helps in identifying the signs for spotting a stroke when it starts.
It stands for the following signs:
F – Face Drooping
A – Arm Weakness
S – Speech Difficulty
T – Time to call 911
How Women Can Prevent Stroke?
Once you know the effects of a stroke, you realize the importance of preventing it in the first place. when you look at the symptoms of stroke (both common and uncommon) in women, avoiding risky behaviors like drinking and smoking can be crucial to stroke prevention. But there are other methods too for preventing stroke. They are as following:
– You should monitor your blood pressure when you are pregnant or before you start taking birth control
– Have your cholesterol checked and diabetes tested
– Exercise for minimum 20 minutes daily
– Make sure that are maintaining healthy weight
– If you experience any changes in mood, make sure to report them (depression is likely to increase stroke risk in women)
– Start using more olive oil for cooking because of its heart benefits
– Get healthy amounts of sleep (6-7 hours)
– Identify effective methods for coping with stress
– Headaches should be monitored. If they turn into more severe migraines, you should seek help
Post-Stroke Condition in Women
When you detect stroke early, it can help in minimizing its impact over your life by a huge margin. When you identify the signs and symptoms of stroke in women, you are able to prevent the long-term damages it can have by getting immediate help.
It is important to understand that the effects of stroke can be damaging in both men and women. It can affect different people in different ways. Some suffer:
– Behavioral changes
– Cognitive challenges such as failure to solve problems or memory loss
– Physical challenges such as paralysis
– Impaired speech
The effects will be based on a number of factors:
– How severe the stroke is
– The place where the stroke occurred in the brain
– The duration it takes for treatment
You can understand better from an in-detail explanation:
If the stroke affects the brain’s right side, it can result in impaired judgment, memory loss, and misjudgment of distance.
If the stroke affects the brain’s left part, it can result in affecting your language and speech. It can also cause development of slow and cautious behavior.
When the stroke impacts the cerebellum (that part of your brain responsible for controlling balance), it can cause problems associated with balance, abnormal reflexes, and dizziness.
There are unique challenges associated with stroke recovery. The recovery process can have speech therapy and rehabilitation therapy as important components for improving skills. The person may need assisted cares with their daily tasks such as feeding, dressing and showering.
Stroke can also bring other changes that could significantly affect your lifestyle. If you have had been following unhealthy habits before the stroke, you should move onto healthier eating. You should also exercise more to help with prevention of another stroke.
As you know now that there are unique factors associated with increased stroke risk in women, you should be able to identify the signs of stroke in women. When you are well educated, you will be able to take the right steps for prolonging your life. You could also prevent strokes from taking place and affecting your life.
Age can also be an important factor in stroke risk. However, women of all age groups can be affected by stroke. You must monitor your health on a regular basis to identify any kind of changes to prevent stroke. Remember, it is you who is responsible for your health!
Other included sources linked in The Hearty Soul’s article:
www.belmarrahealth.com – Original Article Source