You may know the classic symptoms of stroke, but did you know that in women these symptoms can be different? It is important to be informed, to know the symptoms and to be proactive to reduce the risks.

What are the most common symptoms of stroke?

By knowing the symptoms of a stroke in advance, you will be able to detect it early and get help for yourself or a loved one. As soon as you recognize a sign, it’s time to act immediately. Many people think their symptoms may be due to something else, but it’s best not to wonder and just seek medical attention. Be on the lookout for:

  • Sudden confusion or difficulty speaking.
  • Sudden difficulty seeing with both eyes or even with one eye.
  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, legs and arms (especially if one-sided).
  • A sudden and intense headache for no reason.

Female-specific symptoms.

Women may experience the classic symptoms, but they also usually experience unique symptoms. It is important to understand these symptoms as a woman because the most effective stroke treatment is within the first three hours:

  • General weakness.
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness.
  • Disorientation, unresponsiveness or confusion.
  • Congestion.
  • Sudden change in behavior.
  • Hallucination.
  • Pain.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Hiccup.
  • Epileptic seizures.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Difficulty speaking.

The risk of stroke in women and why is it higher?

In general, women have a relatively longer lifespan than men, but they are more likely to suffer a stroke. This risk increases with age, making women more vulnerable to stroke. In addition to age, women are exposed to other risk factors:

  • Postmenopausal changes : As we age, the risk of vascular disease increases, and certain conditions that occur after menopause can increase this risk. High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol are some of these conditions.
  • Migraine with aura : This condition can more than double a woman’s risk of stroke. In one study, it was found that in the presence of migraine with aura, the risk of ischemic stroke was doubled compared to cases of migraine without aura.
  • Hypertension : High blood pressure is one of the common but treatable risk factors for stroke and heart disease. Hypertension can develop for various reasons.
  • Cerebrovascular disorders : Women are more prone to subarachnoid hemorrhages and aneurysms.
  • Atrial fibrillation: In general, the frequency of atrial fibrillation is higher in women. Women are therefore exposed to a high risk of embolic stroke. Anyone with atrial fibrillation is five times more likely to have a stroke.
headache woman
Image credit Freepik

Prevention of stroke in women.

Even if you do everything to reduce your risk, remember the warning signs because nothing is 100% effective. However, the following changes can help protect you.

  • Control your blood pressure: High blood pressure is one of the main factors in stroke. In fact, it can double or even quadruple your risk if left unchecked. It is important to ensure that your blood pressure remains below 135/85.
  • Try to lose weight : Being considered overweight or obese may be associated with diabetes and high blood pressure, which will increase your risk of stroke. Even losing 5 kg can significantly reduce your risk of stroke.
  • Exercise : Exercise can not only help you lose pounds and reduce blood pressure, but it can also help reduce the risk of stroke on its own.
  • Drink in moderation : If you drink alcohol once a day, you can reduce your risk of stroke, but as soon as you start drinking more than two drinks a day, your risk increases dramatically.
  • Treat atrial fibrillation : If you experience shortness of breath or palpitations, contact your doctor for an examination. If you are prescribed medication, make sure you take it as directed. You can reduce your risk of stroke by treating this condition.
* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language that is accessible to everyone. IN NO CASE can the information given replace advice from a healthcare professional.