For the first time in medical history there have been released a series of guidelines for doctors to help prevent strokes in women. The recommendations are easy to follow by any woman and they will extend the life span of persons prone to have a stroke.
Women come first
Almost 800.000 of Americans suffer a new or a second stroke every year and 60% of all women die from it. Some of the causes leading to a stroke are shared by both men and women: alcohol abuse, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels and obesity. But women are affected by a few more conditions which raise the risk of having a stroke – hormonal changes, pregnancy and childbirth.
More pressure on women
A number of professionals with experience in the field researched were selected to analyze studies which showed the risk of stroke in women. They discovered there are more factors associated with stroke in women than in men. These factors are migraine with aura, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, emotional stress and atrial fibrillation.
Preeclampsia and eclampsia are high blood pressure conditions which occur before or right after birth and can lead to stroke.
The new guidelines
The new set of guidelines to help doctors and women prevent stroke target specific womanly physiological conditions like pregnancy and birth. The guidelines include the following:
- birth control pills should be given after screening the woman for high blood pressure as these increase the risk of stroke;
- women-smokers who experience migraines (severe headaches) with aura should quit smoking;
- women prone to have high blood pressure due to family history should enroll calcium or aspirin therapy before pregnancy to attempt prevent preeclampsia;
- women with preeclampsia should be treated as soon as the condition is being discovered for obesity, smoking and high cholesterol levels;
- women over 75 should be periodically screened for atrial fibrillation;
- preeclampsia increases the risk of stroke long after pregnancy by up to four times;
- high blood pressure during pregnancy should be treated accordingly for values over 160/110 mmHg, while values around 150-159 mmHg/100-109 mmHg should be kept under observance and considered for treatment.
The risk of having a stroke is individual for every woman and should be treated individually. The guidelines help doctors to give better treatment for patients and raise awareness of stroke risk among all women, urging them to seek medical assistance and prevent severe strokes and heart attacks.