Stroke Risk In Women-Causes And Prevention

What is STROKE?

Stroke is a No.1 killer of women,and creating awareness is imperative. Before we understand the symptoms of a stroke,let us understand what a stroke is and why it occurs.

The brain needs a continual blood supply for optimal function. What happens when there is not sufficient blood supply to this major organ? When a blood vessel in the brain is blocked due to clots, stroke occurs. Blood flow to the brain is impaired.Those strokes are called ischemic strokes. Other strokes, called bleeding or hemorrhagic strokes, happen when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or bursts.

Stroke Risk Factors-Am I At Risk

Surveys conducted by researchers show that the most vulnerable are educated, and affluent. Obese women top this list,though they are very much aware of the risk of obesity,they often tend to ignore warning signs of a stroke and continue a sedentary lifestyle with no proper eating habits. A particular survey conducted among 200 white women between ages 50 & 73, concludes that all of them had at least one major risk factor for stroke,such as hypertension,diabetes,high cholesterol,and irregular heart rhythm(also known as atrial fibrillation). The survey also showed that these women,particular those with heart disease and diabetes, were aware of stroke as a risk factor,but the remaining did not even think that they could be at risk. They rarely or never worried about stroke.

It is largely perceived that stroke occurs generally in older men and most women are not aware of the fact that in older women strokes can be bigger and more disabling than for men. It is therefore necessary for women and their men to know that stroke can be a risk factor that cannot be ignored.

Research also shows that women between ages 45 -54 are at higher risk than their male counter parts. Also women with more belly fat are prone to stroke.

Stroke Risk Factors-Am I At Risk

  • Lack of exercise and
  • High cholesterol are the top risk factors for stroke.
  • Being overweight and obese
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Alcohol abuse

are additional risk factors.

Stroke Warning Signs-How To Recognize Them

  • Weakness or numbness
  • Sudden changes in vision
  • Headache
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Sudden speech impairment
  • Brief loss of consciousness


Bystanders should take action when a woman shows stroke symptoms

Treatment

Early treatment is imperative as it can save life as well as can be less disabling and the person can continue to lead a normal active life. Recognizing the symptoms and immediately rushing to a doctor is called for. Drugs that bust clots are immediately administered to save the life and minimize the effects of the stroke,but this can be given only within the first few hours of the appearance of the first symptoms of the stroke.

It is found that those with the greatest risk are least aware and so creating awareness among not just the women at risk but also their families and in general, every one needs to be able to recognize such symptoms and take immediate action.

My father suffered this suddenly and recognised it one night after dinner when he went to brush his teeth,he was unable to hold water in his mouth. He was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital even as my mother watched one side of his face droop more pronouncedly.

Some years later, it was my mother's turn. She was attending a wedding when she suddenly felt a numbness on her right cheek,but ignored it. Soon, she felt her eyelids droop and when she tried to speak to someone,they immediately asked her if she was alright because her speech was slurred. She continued to ignore these symptoms until my father insisted she be checked by a doctor. Upon arrival, the doctor immediately administered the injections that bust the clots which is also life saving. Damage was minimal for both my parents since they had been rushed quick for immediate medical attention. Both had to endure a droopy lop sided face for a few months and were undergoing physiotherapy as well. Today,both are normal and their faces near perfect,although my mother's eyes tend to droop or close suddenly. My mother is going to be 70 years old and my father 75.

So, how does one recognize the symptoms-whether in a colleague or family member?

  1. WALK Is their balance off?
  2. TALK Is their speech suddenly slurred?
  3. REACH Is one side numb or droopy?
  4. SEE Is their vision blurred or completely lost?
  5. FEEL Is their headache severe?


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Comments 9 comments

Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 5 years ago from Bangalore,India Author

GmaGoldie,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views.

With regard to your Q,hi sodium increases blood pressure and this is one of the prime factors for a stroke occurrence. Controlling blood pressure is also seen to decrease one's chances of death by stroke.

More info can be found at http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?ident...


GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Purple Perl,

Very critical report - thank you! My Grandfather had a stroke - terrible.

Exercise affects the quality of life. Great for preventing many illnesses. Glad you put exercise first.

Question, does high sodium contribute the risk factors for stroke?


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

Purple Perl, Great hub on strokes! Wonderful healthy suggestions & prevention tips! Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!


Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 7 years ago from Bangalore,India Author

Thanks for sharing your nephew's story,RedElf. I am glad he made it and is taking care of himself.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

A nephew, who was very overweight, had a severe stroke while on holidays at Disney World in Florida. He had a bad headache and dizziness, but ignored the symptoms for a whole day, putting it down to jet lag. Finally he was taken to the hospital. The stroke was at the base of his brain and should have killed him outright - it was only the aggressive treatment at an excellent American hospital that saved him. Now, five years later, he has lost most of his excess weight and has no signs of ever having a stroke, except he must take blood-thinners for the rest of his life.


Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 7 years ago from Bangalore,India Author

Glad to be of help,bingskee! Take the doc's advice & cut out salt & processed food from your diet. Listen to some soulful music everyday-It will calm you.


bingskee profile image

bingskee 7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

i have hypertension though the vital signs are ok the last time i had a check up. the doctor said it must be stress causing it.

thank you for this info. this is very useful.


Purple Perl profile image

Purple Perl 7 years ago from Bangalore,India Author

Thanks Patti Ann for the kudos!

I am glad you found this hub useful.I agree entirely that we must create awareness.That is the purpose of this hub.

I sincerely hope your motherinlaw will soon recover completely.


Patti Ann profile image

Patti Ann 7 years ago from Florida

Excellent! More people should be made aware of the signs and causes of strokes. My mother in law is recovering from one - she has lost most of her speech. Thanks for the great information.

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