Stroke has many symptoms and risks specific to women and a recent survey found that most women are unaware of it.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center conducted a national survey of 1,000 women and found that only 11% could correctly identify pregnancy, lupus, migraine headaches and oral contraception or hormone replacement therapy as female-specific stroke risks.
The survey also found that only 10% were aware that hiccups combined with atypical chest pain are among the early warning signs of a stroke in women when accompanied by or followed by typical stroke symptoms.
Dr. Diana Greene-Chandos said that things like pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy and even something as trivial as a case of the hiccups could all play an important role when it comes to strokes in women, and there was a need to be more aware of it.
Some risk factors are the same for both women and men, including smoking, not exercising or having a blood pressure higher than 140/90mmHg. Other stroke risk factors for men and women include having a hemoglobin A1C of more than 7% if you are already diabetic, or 5.7% if not; as well as having a LDL cholesterol of les than 100mg/dl if you are without additional stroke risks, or less than 70mg/dl with additional stroke risks, particularly diabetes, she said.
Greene-Chandos added that both women and men should focus keeping their blood pressure under 140/90 mmHg, because having high blood pressure consistently puts people at risk for having a stroke.
But symptoms of stroke can be different for women, and may include hiccups, dizziness that is not classic vertigo, headaches, atypical chest pain and/or numbness of the entire body with one side being more numb than the other.