There are so many health conditions and risks to be mindful of as we age, and it’s safe to say some of the bigger ones affect men and women differently. Women, in particular, are affected by everything from menopause to breast cancer, heart disease, mental health, and osteoarthritis.
And believe it or not, you can add strokes to that list.
A stroke occurs when blood supply is suddenly cut off from the brain. Think of it as a brain attack; it can happen at any time and is considered a medical emergency because the brain cells are being deprived of oxygen.
While heart.org states that someone dies of a stroke every 3.70 minutes (about 389.4 stroke deaths each day), stroke.org points out that strokes kill more women than men each year. In fact, one in five women will have a stroke, and some of the gender-specific reasons for the increased risks are likely due to:
- Shifting estrogen levels
- Birth control pills
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Frequent migraines
- Atrial fibrillation
- Having a thick waist, particularly if post-menopausal
With statistics like that, it’s important that we know what a stroke is and be able to act quickly when we recognize the warning signs. Immediate help is necessary to reduce the effects and avoid long-term complications.
Beyond these symptoms, additional risk factors — for women and men — include being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, heavy or binge drinking, and using illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines. Medical risk factors include diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease, among others.
Your friends at Murray Media Group want to remind you the best way to maintain overall health is to live a healthier lifestyle. Also, be aware of what your body is trying to tell you and always consult with your physician.
This month’s issue features several more articles on women’s health, so be sure to check them out.
To the right are common warning signs and symptoms of a stroke, many of which are specific only to women:
Slurred speech and trouble seeing
A telltale sign that someone is having a stroke is when they slur their speech, cannot speak a simple sentence, and have difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes.
Numbness or weakness
What most people experience is paralysis on one side of the body, on the face, or on an arm or leg. Some people experience pain or the sensation of pins and needles.
Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting
These symptoms may be minor or appear to masquerade as vertigo, but they should not be ignored. This is especially true if you are experiencing additional symptoms.
Headaches are a common condition, but if one suddenly pops up without warning and is debilitating in comparison with the run-of-the-mill headache, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Shortness of breath and disorientation
Many women struggle to breathe properly and may even hallucinate or show signs of confusion and disorientation with their surroundings. Some may even faint.