Women and Strokes

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health… 

Ask yourself this: Would the special women in your life be able to identify if a stroke were happening to them? Chances are, they may not know all the signs. That’s because women may experience entirely different stroke symptoms than men, and many aren’t well known. Yet, each year 55,000 more women than men experience a stroke. And, strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability and the 3rd leading cause of death in women. For Stroke Awareness Month, let’s discuss what you may not know about women and strokes.

Similar to men, women are at risk to have a stroke if they have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are obese, or smoke. However, unlike men, their risk increases if they experience migraines, take birth control or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or plan to become pregnant.

Also, women run an alarmingly higher likelihood of long-term effects than men due to symptoms that may be viewed as harmless. Reports show that women have nontraditional stroke symptoms 62% more often than men. These include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Sudden behavior change

It should be noted that women also may have the classic symptoms of headache, face/arm/leg pain, disorientation, change in consciousness as well as the following and will need to act F.A.S.T when a stroke is occurring:

  • F – Face numbness or droopiness
  • A – Arm weakness
  • S – Speech Difficulty
  • T – Time to call 911

Unfortunately, it may be easy for women to dismiss something like nausea or vomiting as a result of food poisoning or stomach complications. Knowing the signs and getting quick medical attention can make all the difference. Strokes can cause long-lasting effects that can make daily routines even more challenging. I hope that by reading this, you’ve picked up on some important facts and will share this article with the women in your life. Remind them that it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and to listen to their bodies so they can recognize the signs of a stroke.