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New Guidelines Can Help Women Prevent Stroke

Posted by Teighlor Lockwood-Koehn Feb 20 2014

Stroke is the third leading cause of death for women in America, and affects about 425,000 women annually. For the first time ever, a set of stroke guidelines has been established specifically to help women assess risk factors, and help prevent stroke.

Key Stats on Women and Stroke Risk

Smoking is a major stroke risk factor for everyone. For women smokers who experience migraines with auras, the stroke risk is exceptionally high. 

Atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the heartbeat is irregular. Afib significantly increases the risk for stroke and often has no symptoms.

For women on birth control, the risk for stroke is higher. Birth control pills can increase blood pressure in women, which also increases their risk of stroke.

Pregnancy and Stroke Risk

Certain factors related to pregnancy can also increase a women’s risk for stroke. Women who are diagnosed with preeclampsia, a condition where pregnant women have high blood pressure and protein in the urine, are at an increased risk for stroke. The high blood pressure can persist even after the pregnancy. Women with preeclampsia should monitor the condition during and after pregnancy to help prevent risk of stroke. Preeclampsia increases a women’s risk of stroke by 50%.


Guidelines For Women To Prevent Stroke

• Women who experience migraines with aura and smoke are advised to stop smoking immediately.
• Women who are pregnant should monitor their blood pressure during and after pregnancy to lower the risk of stroke.
• Women over 75 should be screened for Atrial Fibrillation
• Women should be screened for high blood pressure prior to starting a birth control regimen.
• Women with concerns about high blood pressure or stroke should consult a doctor.


These guidelines have been researched by The American Heart Association and were published in the February 2014 issue of the journal Stroke.

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