Women & Stroke: Stroke is a major medical emergency and if you or someone you know is at risk of stroke, be sure to act F.A.S.T. and receive medical treatment right away. Many risk factors can increase the likelihood of having a stroke. Women are more at risk for stroke than men because, generally, women live longer and have more risk factors. It’s important to learn about your family’s medical history and if you may be more prone to strokes due to certain or multiple risk factors.

Women & Stroke – Eight Risk Factors: #1 Birth Control

Women who take certain types of oral contraceptives, even low-estrogen birth control pills, may be twice as likely to have a stroke than those who don’t and the risk may increase in women with high blood pressure and/or smoke.

Women & Stroke – Eight Risk Factors: #2 Being Pregnant

The risk of stroke increases during a normal pregnancy due to natural changes in a woman’s body, such as high blood pressure and stress on the heart. Women with previous pregnancy-related hypertension also have an increased stroke risk.

Women & Stroke – Eight Risk Factors: #3 Preeclampsia/Eclampsia 

Women with a history of preeclampsia/eclampsia during their pregnancy have an increased risk of future hypertension and stroke one to 30 years after delivery.

Women & Stroke – Eight Risk Factors: #4 Blood Pressure/Hypertension

Increased blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for stroke in women. Women with chronic primary or secondary hypertension are also at an increased risk for having strokes.

Women & Stroke – Eight Risk Factors: #5 Hormone Replacement Therapy

Women who take a combined hormone replacement therapy of progestin and estrogen, to relieve menopausal symptoms, may have a slightly increased stroke risk.

Women & Stroke – Eight Risk Factors: #6 Migraines

Women who suffer from migraines with aura (visual disturbances such as flashing dots or blind spots) can be up to 10 times more likely to suffer a stroke, depending on other risk factors, such as smoking.

Women & Stroke – Eight Risk Factors: #7 Mental Health Issues

Depression and anxiety are twice as common in women than in men. Women experience and often report higher stress levels than men do. These mental health issues that are most common in women raises their risk for stroke.

Women & Stroke – Eight Risk Factors: #8 Clotting Disorders

Women who’ve had one or more miscarriages may be at higher risk for blood clots, which can increase their chance of a stroke.