Categories: Neurology

Are women more prone to stroke?

The risk of getting affected by stroke increases with age. That means as a person grows old they’re at a higher risk of having a stroke. A stroke impacts the physical and emotional well-being of a person and may present lifetime challenges.

So, are Women more Prone to Stroke?

A simple yet scary answer is YES. As per a study conducted a couple of years back, which seems relevant even in today’s scenario, stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in women with twice the casualty as breast cancer. It claimed 55,000 more lives of women than men.

Following are the reason why stroke is higher in women than in men:

  • Postmenopausal Changes – As women age the risk of vascular diseases also shoots up. Especially, certain conditions that arise post-menopause, adds to that risk. These comprise of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Preeclampsia/Eclampsia – A condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure is called as preeclampsia, while eclampsia is a condition in which one or more convulsions occur in a pregnant woman suffering from high blood pressure, often followed by coma and posing a threat to the health of mother and baby. These conditions can twofold a woman’s condition of having a stroke.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhageAn unusual bleeding in the area between the brain and the thin tissues. Women tend to have a higher rate of this disorder and also aneurysms , together adding as a risk factor for stroke.
  • Hypertension – Is the most common and treatable risk factor of stroke.
  • Pregnancy period – Conditions unique to a pregnancy and post-partum periods such as amniotic fluid embolism, postpartum angiopathy, and postpartum cardiomyopathy are also factors responsible for a stroke.

Difference of symptoms in women from men – 

In most cases, the symptoms of stroke in men and women are almost similar like:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking, balancing, or speaking
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Severe headache with no clear cause
  • Vision problems

Women have also reported these additional stroke symptoms:

How to reduce the risk of stroke?

The risk factors of heart diseases and stroke are very similar. Although genetic history, race or age cannot be altered, other factors like cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity etc.s can be changed with lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise. A healthy and active lifestyle can help in reducing the chances of having a stroke.

Recognizing the symptoms of stroke is very crucial. Always remember, when a stroke happens, BE FAST.

B – Balance: Sudden onset of balance problems and lack of muscle movements

E – Eyes & Vision: Trouble with eyesight in one or both the eyes

F – Face Drooping: One side of the face looks uneven, crooked or feels numb

A – Arm Weakness: Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body

S – Speech Difficulty: Slurred or garbled speech. Trouble in speaking or understanding others talk

T – Time to rush to a stroke-ready hospital

If you see someone showing the symptoms of stroke, call the emergency services immediately. Getting immediate help may reduce the extent of damage to the brain as T-PA or clot bursting drug can be administered to them. Mechanical thrombolysis can be done within 6-24 hours in an stroke case, depending upon the case.

Know the symptoms, act FAST.

Dr. Vikram Huded, Senior Consultant – Neurology, MSMC Bangalore

Narayana Health

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