How to prevent stroke in women

By Drum Digital
12 February 2014

The American Heart Association has issued its guidelines for preventing strokes in women.

They focus on birth control, pregnancy, depression and other risk factors.

These guidelines currently focus on controlling blood pressure and diabetes, quitting smoking, more exercise and healthy diets.

Birth Control Pills  

Women should be checked for high blood pressure before starting on oral contraceptives because the combination raises stroke risks. The risk is small but rises steeply in women ages 45 to 49.

Pregnancy

Strokes are uncommon during pregnancy but the risk is still higher, especially during the last three months and soon after delivery. The big worry is preeclampsia, dangerously high blood pressure that can cause a seizure and other problems.

Migraines

Women are four times more likely to have migraines than men, and they often coincide with hormone swings. Migraines alone don't raise the risk of stroke, but ones with aura do. Using oral contraceptives and smoking raise this risk even more. The guidelines urge stopping smoking.

Irregular heart beat

Women over age 75 should be checked for atrial fibrillation. Doctors do this by taking a pulse or listening to the heartbeat.

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