Home Neurology Awareness of Female-Specific Early Stroke Signs Lacking

Awareness of Female-Specific Early Stroke Signs Lacking

Pregnancy, migraines, and hormone therapy put women at increased risk

THURSDAY, May 7, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women, but many are unaware of warning signs and symptoms that are unique to females, according to a survey conducted by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

Of 1,000 women surveyed, the researchers found that only one in 10 were aware that hiccups that occur with unusual chest pain is an early warning sign of stroke in women. Only 11 percent of women polled knew that pregnancy, lupus, migraine headaches, birth-control pills, and hormone replacement therapy increase their stroke risk. “I think we have a ways to go when it comes to educating women about stroke and their unique risk factors,” Diana Greene-Chandos, M.D., a neurologist and director of neuroscience critical care, said in a medical center news release.

“Women may have more headaches with their strokes. They actually can have hiccups with a little bit of chest pain with their stroke symptoms, sometimes sending them down the pathway of looking for either heart disease or indigestion,” Greene-Chandos said. Nearly half of those surveyed also said they didn’t know that following a stroke, many women experience nerve damage, problems swallowing, and depression, which can prevent them from getting needed rehabilitation.

Each year, more than 137,000 Americans die from stroke, about 60 percent of them women, according to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association.

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