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Women's Stroke Risk

One way you can improve your odds for not having a stroke is to learn about the lifestyle changes and medicines that can lower your stroke risk.

Some risk factors are the same for men and women:

  • a family history of stroke
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • being overweight
  • not exercising

Learn more about these risk factors by visiting www.stroke.org/risk.

Other risks are unique to women:

  • taking birth control pills
  • being pregnant; stroke risk increases during a normal pregnancy due to natural changes in the body such as increased blood pressure and stress on the heart
  • using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a combined hormone therapy of progestin and estrogen, to relieve menopausal symptoms
  • having a thick waist and high triglyceride (blood fat) level; post-menopausal women with a waist size larger than 35.2 inches and a triglyceride level higher than 128 milligrams per liter may have a five-fold increased risk for stroke
  • being a migraine headache sufferer; migraines can increase a woman's stroke risk 3-6 times, and most Americans who suffer migraines are women

To understand and control your particular stroke risk, talk to your doctor.


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