One sign of a stroke in both women and men is facial drooping. If you experience numbness or sagging in one side of your face, speech difficulty, sudden changes in vision or loss of balance, call 911.

Women Face Higher Stroke Risk Than Men

Be Healthy

When it comes to stroke risk, women have a higher risk than their male counterparts.

In the United States, about 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association estimates that one in five American women will have a stroke.

Stroke isn't only more common in women – it's more deadly. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women in the U.S., killing more than 85,000 women every year. In fact, about 60% of stroke deaths occur in women versus men.

There are many reasons women are at greater risk of suffering a stroke, some being unique to the female sex. Research shows the risk of stroke increases in women who:

  • Are pregnant.
  • Have preeclampsia.
  • Take birth control pills.
  • Use hormone replacement therapy.
  • Have migraines with aura.
  • Smoke.
  • Have atrial fibrillation.

There are preventive measures women can take to reduce their risk. The first, most important step to take is to talk to your primary care physician (PCP). Some things to discuss include:

  • The safest medication(s) for you if you're pregnant with high blood pressure.
  • Low-dose aspirin guidelines starting in the second trimester (week 12) to lower preeclampsia risk.
  • Getting blood pressure checked before taking birth control pills. Make sure to monitor your numbers every six months.
  • The benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy, and if the benefits outweigh the risks.
  • How to quit smoking.
  • If you have migraines, avoid smoking, nicotine use, vaping and e-cigarettes.
  • Getting screened for atrial fibrillation if older than 75 years old, as this condition become more common as women age.

Work with your PCP to develop the best plan for you to lower your risk of stroke. You can also visit the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s website for more facts and prevention tips.



Published on: May 29, 2024