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What Women Should Know about Strokes

Updated on May 2, 2009

What do Chiropractors, hair dressers, roller coaster rides and birth control have in common with strokes?

Most people are aware of the triggering factors that may lead to a stroke. The most common are related to having high blood pressure, having high cholesterol levels and smoking. Therefore, one can draw the conclusion that women leading healthy lifestyles should be spared by getting strokes, right? Wrong. Healthy women may still get strokes and, in some cases, this can occur because of the most unexpected causes and in the most unexpected places.

First of all, what is exactly a stroke?

A stroke occurs when for one reason or another the brain is deprived from life sustaining oxygen.The process is quite similar to a heart attack but the circumstances may be a bit diverse. There are basically two main types of strokes occurring: ischemic strokes and hemorrhagic strokes.

Ischemic strokes are the most common of the two, it typically occurs when a blood clot or a fatty deposit blocks a blood vessel leading to the brain depriving it of life sustaining oxygen. When this occurs important brain cells begin deteriorating and dying within minutes causing the typical symptoms suggesting a stroke.

Hemorrhagic strokes, on the other hand occur when when a blood vessel bursts into the brain.

While stroke may affect both sexes, it has a preference for women, affecting them more than twice than men. Another scary factor is that strokes may affect even women younger than thought, often in their 30's and early 40's as well.

Rare Reactions to Neck Adjustments

Chiropractors

Not many people are aware of the risks of stroke when visiting their chiropractor. While the risks of stroke are very low and pretty rare, they are still there regardless. The risk occurs when your chiropractor works in the neck region specifically addressing cervical manipulation and neck adjustment practices. This maneuvers at times may cause a serious reaction called ''Carotid Artery Dissection'', which could result in a stroke. But how does this happen?

Neck manipulation maneuvers involve quick, firm but gently turns of the head to the left and to the right which in rare cases, may pinch or tear the carotid or vertebral artery causing it to bleed and form a thrombus or blood clot which will ultimately cut off the supply of oxygen to the brain.

While most stroke symptoms following a chiropractic treatment may develop within minutes, some may only develop after days or weeks. There is still much debate if these strokes are due to the manipulation as many chiropractors claim that these people were exhibiting headaches in the first place which are initial symptoms of stroke.

Consent forms informing patients on these risks are being considered.

Risks of Neck Manipulations Strokes 1 in 20,000

Beauty Parlor Stroke

As neck adjustments may cause carotid artery dissection so can getting new hairdo's. Again, the risks are extremely low, however, the tear seems to be most likely to occur when the neck is tilted far back on the sink when getting a shampoo.

Placing a towel under the neck may help the person feel more comfortable while the extra padding support will prevent from having the neck tilted to far. This type of stroke has been called '' beauty parlor stroke''.

Here is the story of somebody experiencing a stroke after visiting a beauty salon.

Roller Coaster Stroke

As seen, strokes can be caused by tears of the carotid artery when the neck is manipulated in such a way that puts strain or excessively stretches this artery. Of course other causes of strokes are car accidents and injuries.

Roller Coaster Rides as well with the rapid movements of the neck may cause potential problems.

Birth Control Pills

Birth Contol Pills have the potential of causing stroke because estrogen tends to thicken blood increasing the likeliness of a blood clot. Birth Contol pills as well are known to increase chances of high blood pressure and Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Smoking while on birth control significantly increases these risks. Those with a family history of heart disease and high blood pressure should also consult with their doctor before starting birth control.

Symptoms oF Possible Stroke

-Slurred Speech

-Unequal pupils

-Sudden Pain on one side of the body

-Loss of Consciousness

-Numbness of Face, Arm or Leg

-Disorientation

-Dizziness

-Sever headache

-Inability to Smile or Swallow


Preventing Strokes

Strokes may be prevented in various ways:

-Lower Blood pressure

-Exercise Routinely

-Stay Slim

-Stop Smoking

-Eat Vegetables

-Drink Wine in Moderation

-Get Good Pre-Natal Care

As seen, there is a lot you can do to prevent strokes. Of course, you can still live your life to the fullest and still get your hair done and enjoy a roller coaster ride, but now that you are more educated, you are better prepared to recognize potential symptoms of stroke so to seek immediate assistance as necessary. Time is of the essence in strokes, a delay may ultimately make the difference between life and death.

Disclaimer: the above article is not to be used as a diagnostic tool nor as a substitute for medical advice. If you have questions or are not feeling well please consult to your physician or consult 911 immediately.

References:

Birth Control Pills, Salon haircuts can Raise Stroke Risk by Ginny Graves Health Magazine http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/conditions/03/21/healthmag.stroke/index.html

Risks of Birth Control Explained

Vegetables May Keep Strokes at Bay

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    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 

      9 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      You certainly did your homework on this, and provide accurate information. A stroke can happen to anyone as it certainly does not have a favorite age group. :)

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