Posted on Feb 19, 2014, 6 a.m.
American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association jointly issue new guidelines with factors that may elevate a woman’s risks of stroke.
The fifth leading cause of death in men and the third-leading cause of death in women, stroke risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. New evidence now suggests that other additional factors may raise stroke risk among women. Preeclampsia, a condition in which blood pressure rises during pregnancy, places women at twice the risk of a stroke and four times the risk of high blood pressure later in life. As well, use of birth control pills while hypertensive may also raise stroke risk. Other risk factors more common in women than men include migraine with aura, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, depression and emotional stress. Writing that: “We provide current evidence, research gaps, and recommendations on risk of stroke related to preeclampsia, oral contraceptives, menopause, and hormone replacement, as well as those risk factors more common in women, such as obesity/metabolic syndrome, atrial fibrillation, and migraine with aura,” the study authors submit that: “To more accurately reflect the risk of stroke in women across the lifespan, as well as the clear gaps in current risk scores, we believe a female-specific stroke risk score is warranted.”
Bushnell C, McCullough LD, Awad IA, Chireau MV, Fedder WN, Furie KL, et al; on behalf of the American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, and Council for High Blood Pressure Research. “Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Women: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.” Stroke. 2014 Feb 6.