You may be familiar with the classic symptoms of stroke, but did you know that in women these symptoms can be different? It is important to be informed, to know the symptoms and to be proactive in reducing risks.
What are the most common symptoms of stroke?
By knowing the symptoms of a stroke beforehand, you can catch it early and get help for yourself or a loved one. As soon as you recognize a signal, it’s time to act immediately. Many people think their symptoms may be due to something else, but it’s best not to wonder and simply seek medical help. Watch for:
- Sudden confusion or trouble speaking.
- Sudden difficulty seeing with both eyes or even with one eye.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, legs and arms (especially if unilateral).
- A sudden, severe headache for no reason.
Specific symptoms of women.
Women may experience classic symptoms, but they also often experience unique symptoms. Understanding these symptoms as a woman is critical because the most effective treatment for stroke is within the first three hours:
- General weakness.
- Fainting or loss of consciousness.
- Disorientation, lack of response or confusion.
- Sudden change in behavior.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- epileptic seizures.
- Loss of balance.
- Difficulty speaking.
Is the risk of stroke in women and why is it higher?
In general, women have a relatively longer life expectancy than men, but are more likely to have a stroke. This risk increases with age, making women more vulnerable to stroke. Apart from age, women are exposed to other risk factors:
- Postmenopausal changes : As we age, the risk of vascular disease increases, and certain conditions that appear after menopause can increase this risk. High blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are some of these conditions.
- Migraines with aura : This condition can more than double a woman’s risk of stroke. In one study, it was found that in the presence of migraine with aura, the risk of ischemic stroke was doubled, compared to cases of migraine without aura.
- Hypertension : High blood pressure is one of the common but treatable risk factors for stroke and heart disease. Hypertension can develop for various reasons.
- Cerebrovascular disorders : Women are more prone to subarachnoid hemorrhages and aneurysms.
- Atrial fibrillation: Generally, the rate of atrial fibrillation is higher in women. Therefore, women are exposed to a higher risk of embolic stroke. Anyone with atrial fibrillation is five times more likely to have a stroke.
Prevention of cerebrovascular accidents in women.
Even if you do everything you can to reduce your risk, you should be aware of the warning signs because nothing is 100% effective. However, the following changes can help protect you.
- Check your blood pressure: High blood pressure is one of the main factors in stroke. In fact, you can double or even quadruple your risk if left unchecked. It’s important to make sure your blood pressure stays below 135/85.
- Trying to lose weight : If you are considered to be overweight or obese, it may be related to diabetes and high blood pressure, which will increase your risk of stroke. Even losing 5 kg, you can significantly reduce your risk of stroke.
- Exercise : Exercise can not only help you lose pounds and lower your blood pressure, but it can also help reduce your risk of stroke on its own.
- Drink in moderation : If you drink alcohol once a day, you can lower your risk of stroke, but as soon as you start having more than two drinks a day, your risk increases dramatically.
- Treat atrial fibrillation : If you experience shortness of breath or heart palpitations, contact your doctor for examination. If medications are prescribed, be sure to take them as directed. You can lower your risk of stroke by treating this condition.