Why Women are at a Greater Risk of Stroke and its Effects?
Science and its data reveal that stroke “strikes” women more often. And in this case the correct information is very important. Stroke is comparatively more common in women than in men, according to epidemiological data in western Europe, and there are specific factors that contribute to this. Let’s look at them in detail. Women have a longer life expectancy and the chances of a stroke increase as age increases. After the age of 65 more women experience increased blood pressure and are more likely to experience cardiac arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation, which five-fold increases the risk of ischemic stroke.
Also, during pregnancy, especially in the last weeks, the coagulability of the pregnant woman’s blood increases, so there should be close communication with the gynecologist, especially if there are health issues, such as diabetes or preeclampsia. Preeclampsia doubles the risk of stroke several years after pregnancy. Taking contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy also increases the risk, hence the relevant preparations should be taken after the necessary gynecological check-up. Women with increased blood pressure, a history of blood clots and/or an increased body weight may not be able to take hormonal drugs. In addition, the use of such drugs in parallel with smoking should be avoided.
And migraine plays a role. People who suffer from migraine with Aura have twice the risk of stroke. Epidemiology shows that specific headache is more common in women. In this case, it is again recommended to avoid smoking and use contraceptives.
Finally, the social context is also implicated, as women who suffer a stroke tend to downplay the importance of symptoms either because they do not want to worry their family or because they feel that they have no “right” to get sick because their relatives depend on them. The result is that they seek help when it is too late, increasing the risk of permanent damage or fatal progression. In fact, statistical data from the use of the thrombolytic drug alteplase worldwide show that it is generally more likely to be used in men. In addition, women are more likely to be basic caregivers of people who have suffered a stroke. That’s why access to knowledge about stroke, symptoms, treatment and rehabilitation is essential for women.
Nevertheless, there are ways of prevention that are common for men and women. Be sure to follow a balanced diet with enough fruits and vegetables; exercise at moderate intensity 3-4 times a week; quit smoking, because it increases blood pressure, damages the vessels of the brain and heart and is a key predisposing factor for stroke; finally, do the annual Heart Check and monitor your blood pressure and heart rate at regular intervals.
Health & Wellness stroke Health Prevention