Strokes are the 3rd leading cause of death in women worldwide, who are fairly more prone to the dangerous condition than men. To make things worse, the symptoms of stroke in women are harder to detect on time, which is why it’s so deadly. According to experts, 80% of strokes can be prevented by acting accordingly and making some lifestyle and diet changes. Of course, noticing the easy-to-miss symptoms on time is of vital importance so you can prevent the damage to your body and brain a stroke can cause.
The main causes of stroke
Stroke affects more than 800 000 Americans every year and occurs mainly due to a blood clot in the brain or a burst blood vessel. Once this happens, the brain is deprived of oxygen and its cells begin to die. This can affect your movement and muscle control and cause significant harm to your health.
Although many people recover well from a stroke, almost two thirds experience at least a minor level of disability. When a stroke doesn’t kill, it may leave you disabled, which is why you need to recognize the signs and symptoms on time.
Why are women more prone to strokes?
Lack of physical activity, smoking, obesity, alcoholism and high blood pressure or cholesterol levels are identified as the main risk factors for stroke. Women are more prone to the condition due to their unique physical and cultural attributes you can see below.
They live longer
In general, women live longer than men and have a higher risk of stroke and death. This may be because they live alone later in life, which means their access to brain-saving healthcare is reduced. It also means that their quality of life while living alone after a stroke is significantly reduced as well.
They have different hormones
Women take hormones such as progestin and estrogen in the form of oral contraceptives which have been associated to higher risk of stroke. Although most women can use hormone replacement therapies without an issue, obese women, smokers and those who aren’t physically active have a higher risk of stroke.
They are more prone to autoimmune diseases
According to experts, women are 3 times more likely to develop autoimmune diseases than men. These diseases can damage the blood vessels over time and significantly raise the risk of a stroke.
They are more prone to migraines
Women are more prone to migraines which have been associated with a 2.5 times higher risk of stroke.
They put themselves last
Even when they’re not well, women always put everything else before themselves. This is a dangerous habit which raises their risk of stroke and the fatality rate as well.
They are properly studied
Most of the stroke and cardiovascular studies have been done on men, which means that women are left in the dark about the symptoms of the condition and prevention tips as well.
They aren’t taken seriously
Gender discrimination has been around for a long time, and is also present in healthcare. Many women have reported that their request for medical healthcare has been minimized due to the common belief that women are anxious or that it’s “all in their head”. This makes them more prone to stroke, as well as other serious disorders.
They are subtle
As the symptoms of stroke in women are subtle, they are often ignored, which highly increases the stroke fatality rate in women. Additionally, women are often misdiagnosed until it becomes too late.
The main symptoms of stroke in women
The American Heart Association considers the FAST acronym the best way of detecting a stroke. The acronym stands for:
F – face weakness
A – arm numbness
S – speech difficulties
T – time to call an ambulance
The symptoms of stroke are generally numbness in the limbs or face, speaking and vision problems, trouble with coordination or a painful headache. Additionally, women may experience overall weakness, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, confusion, behavioral changes, hallucinations, nausea or vomiting, seizures, hiccups and different kinds of pain.