For the first time, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have teamed up to issue stroke prevention guidelines focused exclusively on women. American women face a higher lifetime risk for stroke accounting for nearly 54% of the 795,000 new and recurring strokes that occur every year.
Indeed, while stroke is the 5th leading cause of death among American men, it’s actually the 3rd biggest killer of women.
According to the AHA and ASA women face some unique concerns due to hormones, pregnancy, child-birth and other gender-related issues.
For example, the new guidelines characterize preeclampsia as a long-term risk factor for stroke, even after delivery alongside smoking, obesity, and high cholesterol. Women with a history of high blood pressure are advised to consider low-dose aspirin and/or calcium supplements before becoming pregnant and to treat high blood pressure with medication, if elevations get excessively high during pregnancy.
Women are also cautioned to get checked for high blood pressure in advance of taking birth control pills