Cindy Cooke, PhD, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP
About 800,000 Americans have a stroke each year, and 55,000 more of them will be women. While breast cancer feels like the most looming threat for many women, stroke kills twice as many as breast cancer. Given that one in five women will suffer a stroke, here’s what everyone needs to know:
High blood pressure is the biggest threat. One in three women with high blood pressure has no idea she has it.
Stroke risk increases with age. Women live longer than men, they experience more stress and are more likely to have high blood pressure after the age of 65.
Women have unique risk factors. Pregnancy, birth control, preeclampsia and hormone replacement therapy increase risk.
Stroke is largely preventable. 80 percent of strokes could be prevented if more people actively diminished their risk.
High risk is not a sentence. Controlling high blood pressure, losing weight, exercising and managing diabetes will drastically reduce your chance of stroke.
Stroke can happen to anyone. Women especially need to understand their risk before it’s too late!