Credit: © sepy / Fotolia

Credit: © sepy / Fotolia

Guidelines for stroke prevention in women

Guidelines for stroke prevention in women

Though incidences of strokes have decreased significantly since the early 90s, more women die from them than men.

There were no official guidelines for  stroke prevention in women until now with the help of an expert from the University of Alabama.

The American Stroke Association reports that stroke is the fourth leading cause for death in America, and 60 percent of those strokes occur in women.

Men are physiologically different from women, so preventive tips cannot be one-size-fits-all,” said Virginia Howard, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at University of Alabama and co-author of the Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Women, which was published by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association in a journal called Stroke.

There are many considerations about stroke that might be different for women: Reproductive factors and risk factors more common or stronger in women, like diabetes and atrial fibrillation, might get lost in a general guidelines document,” stated Virginia Howard.

Here are the guidelines for stroke prevention in women as reported in the journal Stroke:

1. Women should be screened for high blood pressure before being prescribed birth control pills, which raise blood pressure in some women.

2. Women with a history of high blood pressure before pregnancy should be considered for low-dose aspirin and/or calcium supplement therapy to lower pre-eclampsia risks.

3. Women who have had pre-eclampsia have twice the risk of stroke and a fourfold risk of high blood pressure later in life. Therefore, pre-eclampsia should be recognized as a risk factor well after pregnancy, and other risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol and obesity in these women should be treated early.

4. Pregnant women with moderately high blood pressure (150-159 mm Hg/100-109 mm Hg) may be considered for blood pressure medication, whereas expectant mothers with very high blood pressure (160/110 mm Hg or above) should be treated.

5. “Getting these preventive measures to doctors is exciting because it’s an opportunity to start the conversation early; people think stroke is just an ‘old person’s disease,'” explains Howard.

While it generally is, it’s also preventable. There are many things women can do at younger ages, during child-bearing years, which can impact stroke risk later in life, so it’s an important message to have physicians — especially OB/GYNs, who may be the only doctors some women see at younger ages — involved in stroke-prevention care early on,“adds Howard.

For a stroke prevention smoothie.
Lower blood pressure juice.
Eating apples may reduce risk of stroke. 

Note: The content on our website is for educational purposes only. Please consult your health practitioner or a qualified expert.

1. “Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Women.” Stroke. American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, 06 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

2. “First Stroke Guidelines for Women Created.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 07 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
3. Wyatt, Nicole. “UAB – UAB News – First Stroke Guidelines for Women Created with Help of UAB Expert.UAB News. University of Alabama, 06 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
4. “Impact of Stroke (Stroke Statistics).” American Stroke Association, 01 May 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
5. “Sex Differences in Quality of Life after Ischemic Stroke.” Neurology, 07 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.
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