Do you know any health conditions that cause women to be more at risk of having a stroke? How about what different symptoms a woman may experience if she is having one? Or, what specific problems a woman may struggle with while trying to recover from a stroke.
If you don’t know the answers to any of these questions, you are not alone.
According to a survey given by Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, only 11 percent of 1,000 women surveyed knew the female-specific risk factors for strokes. Those risk factors include: pregnancy, lupus, migraines, oral contraception, and hormone replacement therapy. 1
Only 10 percent of those surveyed were aware that hiccups combined with atypical chest pain were potential early warning signs if they occurred along with other pre-stroke symptoms. Other warning signs could include: facial numbness, weakness on one side of the body, confusion, difficulty speaking, vision trouble or dizziness.
And about half didn’t know that women recovering from a stroke have a higher incidence of depression. Depression can get in the way of seeking help to tackle common post stroke problems, like difficulties swallowing or walking.
Women tend to think strokes are a man’s disease, says Dr. Diana Greene-Chandos, a neurologist and director of neuroscience critical care at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.
However, stroke is the third leading cause of death in women, according to the National Stroke Association.
Some of the risk factors for strokes are the same for men and women such as smoking, not exercising, having high blood pressure, having elevated cholesterol levels or symptoms of diabetes.
Symptoms of a stroke, though, can be very different. Greene-Chandos said, “Women may have more headaches with their strokes. They actually can have hiccups with a little bit of chest pain with their stroke symptoms, sometimes sending them down the pathway of looking for either heart disease or indigestion.”