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Women and Stroke Prevention

Thursday, 06 Mar 2014 08:31 AM

You all know the phrase "different strokes for different folks." But it's taken the medical community until now to figure out that women have different risk factors for stroke and need targeted interventions to increase prevention.

More than 60 percent of stroke-related deaths in North America happen to women. And a recent study reveals that female stroke survivors have a lower quality of life than male stroke survivors. But you can turn that around!

New guidelines from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association suggest that you take steps to prevent stroke if you have the following risk factors.

-Migraine headaches, especially with aura. Migraine is three times more common in women and increases stroke risk three to six times.

-You're post-menopausal with a 35-or-more-inch waist or a triglyceride level over 128 mg/dL. That increases stroke risk five-fold.

-Going on birth-control pills. Get screened for high blood pressure; taking hormones plus HBP ups stroke risk. Tip: Ask your doc about taking two low-dose aspirins daily (with half a glass of warm water before and after) to decrease stroke and breast cancer risk.

-If you have HBP before becoming pregnant, talk to your gynecologist or obstetrician about taking low-dose aspirin and/or calcium supplements along with your vitamin D-3 and prenatal vitamins to lower your risk of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia doubles your stroke risk later in life.

For stroke prevention, control blood pressure; maintain a healthy weight; and get regular exercise at every age. Take HBP-lowering meds, along with statins, and anti-migraine drugs, if prescribed. And try laughing. It may lower your blood pressure and soothe your heart and soul!

© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

© King Features Syndicate

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