New guidelines to help women prevent strokes

Dr. Sapna Parikh reports
February 6, 2014 2:09:58 PM PST
A big breakthrough in women's health as for the first time, guidelines have been developed for preventing strokes specifically in women.

Everyone is at risk for a stroke- but we know they can be deadlier for women and some of the risk factors are unique.

And so today the American Heart Association just issued new recommendations with a focus on women.

Every 40 seconds someone has a stroke in the U.S. but for women the risk of stroke is influenced by pregnancy, hormones and age

"You have the childbearing years, perimenopausal, post-menopausal, and that just modifies those already traditional risk-factors," said Dolora Wisco with Cleveland Clinic.

We know birth control pills, smoking and high blood pressure put you more at risk for stroke. So the new guidelines recommend:

  • All women be screened for high blood pressure before taking birth control pills
  • Pregnant women with high blood pressure should take low dose aspirin
  • Women with certain types of migraine headaches (migraine headaches with aura) should stop smoking
  • And all women over 75 should be screened for atrial fibrillation-- a heart rhythm that raises the risk of stroke.

    Stroke specialists says women need to add these risk factors to those you may already have.

    "If you have high blood pressure, you know you have diabetes, you have cholesterol, you're smoking- those are major risk factors that you need to be paying attention to if you're a female," adds Wisco.

    Whether you are female or male--a quick reminder of the signs that you or a loved one might be having a stroke--

    Just remember fast. If you have "F" face drooping, "A" -arm weakness, or "S" -speech difficulty then it's time time to call 911fast.

    The faster you call the less brain damage you will have. LINK: