Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, and Maria Sharapova all have unique strokes that propelled them to 12, 23, and 5 Grand Slam singles victories, respectively.
Unfortunately, ischemic strokes are not that unique and slam a lot more women than men. Every year in the U.S. 55,000 more women than men experience these vascular events.
That discrepancy caught the attention of researchers at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Their research, published in the journal “Stroke,” uncovered women's unique risk factors and highlighted their need to take aggressive steps to avoid a stroke.
After looking at hormone levels, hormone therapy, hormonal birth control, pregnancy, and time of menarche and menopause, they found that the following factors were all associated with an increased risk of stroke:
• Getting your period before age 10
• Experiencing menopause before age 45
• Having low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS)
• Taking oral estrogen (without aspirin), or a combined oral contraceptive (again, without aspirin)
True, only a fraction of women who have one or more of those risk factors will have a stroke. But, if any of them apply to you, you should embrace healthy behaviors that will reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
That means seven to eight hours of sleep nightly; 10,000 steps daily; seven to nine servings of fruits and veggies daily; no red or processed meat or highly processed foods, and only 100 percent whole grains.
And ask your doctor about taking an 81 mg aspirin twice daily if you take hormone therapy.
Even men taking hormones should do this.
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