In recent years, stroke, which causes permanent disability and life-threatening situation, develops in more women than men. Many factors including maternity, contraceptive pills and longer life span of women increase the risk of stroke. Associate Professor Yakup Krespi said that this condition ranks the fifth-leading cause of death among men, while it is the third-leading cause of death among women.
The main reason behind why stroke is seen more among women is that women live longer than men. The prevalence of stroke is higher among women as the number of elderly people in a society increases. This is because it is important to detect stroke risk and protective strategies. Aside from general risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol, there are women-specific risk factors, too. The risk for stroke is higher in pregnant women than others. It can develop in the last third months of maternity as well as early periods of post-maternity due to edema and physiological changes in the mechanism of coagulation.
Maternity-related hypertension is an important factor for both hemorrhagic and obstructive strokes. Prior to maternity, women with hypertension are recommended to take low dose aspirin and sufficient calcium intake under physician control. Pregnant women with hypertension should continue drug treatment in post-maternity period as well. According to certain studies, the intake of low dose contraceptive pills relatively increases the risk for stroke among the elderly, smoking women as well as women with hypertension, high cholesterol and inherited blood clotting disorder. This is because such risk factors should be considered if contraceptive pills are used. Cerebral venous thrombosis can develop more women than men and a rare reason of stroke.
Some studies showed that 70 percent of people who suffer from this stroke type are women. It is believed that birth control pills and hormonal factors occurred during pregnancies cause this stoke to be seen mostly among women. Although pregnancy is not inconvenient for women with a medical history as such, they are advised to continue blood diluent treatment throughout the pregnancy. Migraine with aura which manifests itself with signs of visual and speech impairment and numbness increases the risk of stroke.
It is observed that women suffering from migraine with aura who smoke cigarettes are most likely to suffer from stroke. These women should stop smoking immediately. Cardiac arrhythmia, which is called "Atrial fibrillation," is an important risk factor for stroke. As women's life expectancy is longer than men, stroke is mostly seen in their advanced ages. Hence, women above the age of 75 are advised to undergo EKG and scan for arrhythmia.