How Stroke Risks Differ in Women From Men

A stroke is a serious problem in the brain. It occurs when blood flow to a certain area gets blocked, or a blood vessel bursts, putting brain cells at risk. While men often have a higher risk for stroke than women, women are more likely to die when a stroke hits.

Approximately 60% of stroke-related deaths occur in women. Furthermore, strokes kill nearly twice as many women every year than breast cancer, making it the fifth leading cause of death for women. Studies also show that 1 in 5 have a stroke between 55-75 years of age. 

These numbers may seem bleak, but there’s also good news. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4 in 5 strokes are preventable — but you need to understand your risks and take action.

Yogesh Paliwal, MD, provides expert interventional cardiology and general cardiology services at his locations in Pomona, Montclair, and West Covina, California. Throughout his career, Dr. Paliwal has served generations of women at Indus Cardiology, ensuring they understand how their stroke risks differ from men.

Are you ready to take action against strokes? Here’s what you should know.

General risk factors for stroke

There are several lifestyle and medical risk factors that increase your chances for stroke, regardless of gender, such as:

Similarly, people aged 55 or older have a higher risk for stroke than younger populations. Furthermore, people of African-American or Hispanic descent have a higher risk as well.

So how are women’s risks different?

Women and stroke

There are three specific reasons why women have a higher risk for stroke and serious complications when compared with men.

1. High blood pressure

To start, nearly 40% of women live with high blood pressure or take medication to control their numbers, which is a major risk factor for the condition. 

2. Hormones

Reproductive hormones also increase a woman’s chances for stroke, especially oral contraceptives, pregnancy, and postmenopausal hormone therapy. Similarly, your risks for stroke increase if you had preeclampsia, eclampsia, or gestational diabetes.

3. Longer lifespan

A woman’s average lifespan is typically longer than a man’s. Since the chances for stroke increases with age, that puts women at higher risk throughout their lifetime.

Preventing stroke 

Fortunately, you can often reduce your risks for stroke by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as:

You should also work closely with an expert like Dr. Paliwal if you have a risk or diagnosed heart condition. He can give you personalized strategies to help you avoid dangerous health complications, such as stroke.

Learn to Think FAST

Finally, it’s crucial to learn the warning signs of a stroke, so you can seek emergency care as quickly as possible. All you have to do is remember to “Think FAST.” 

A stroke can interfere with the person’s ability to speak, think, see, and move. Think FAST stand for the following:

Even if these signs seem mild, it’s essential to contact an expert as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher the risk for brain damage, disability, and even death. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially if it could involve a stroke.

Could you be at risk for stroke? Contact Indus Cardiology to schedule an appointment today.

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