Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in Americans and the third leading cause in women. In fact, more women than men suffer strokes, and the prevalence has been rising in younger women (30s and 40s) in recent years.

 

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Without oxygen-rich blood, brain cells begin to die. If the blood supply is not restored, the affected part of the brain dies, causing disability or death. The earlier a stroke is treated the better the outcome (time loss equals brain loss). People who survive a stroke often have long-term disabilities that greatly diminish quality of life and increase health-care costs.

 

Most women know to call 911 if they think they are having a stroke, according to a national survey by the American Heart Association. But unfortunately many women do not recognize the signs of a stroke. Many hospitals also fail to recognize strokes in women, and their symptoms are often attributed to other conditions or given no diagnosis. Studies show strokes are commonly missed in men as well, but more often in women, minority groups, and people under age 45.

 

To increase awareness, the American Heart Association is promoting the acronym FAST:

 ACE DROPPING. Double click me.

 RM WEAKNESSDouble click me.

 PEECH DIFFICULTY

 IME TO CALL 911 click me.

Other symptoms can include sudden and severe headache, unexplained dizziness, and sudden loss or diming of vision in one eye.

 

What are the risk factors for stroke?

 

Risk issues you can do something about:   

 

  • High blood pressure

  • High blood cholesterol

  • Atrial fibrillation

  • Being overweight

  • Diabetes

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Physical inactivity

  • Smoking

  • Stress

 

 

Risk factors you can't control:

 

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Family History

  • Ethnicity

  • History of stroke or TIA