What can women do to prevent strokes?

The American Heart Association's (AHA) guidelines include specific stroke prevention methods geared toward women.

Women who had preeclampsia during pregnancy should be evaluated regularly and treated for any cardiovascular risk factors. Preeclampsia (a dangerous spike in blood pressure that occurs late during pregnancy) doubles the risk for stroke and quadruples the risk for high blood pressure later in life. Between 6-10% of women who give birth develop preeclampsia.

Pregnant women with high blood pressure or who had high blood pressure during a previous pregnancy should talk to their healthcare providers about treatments like low-dose aspirin and blood pressure medications to take starting in their second trimester to reduce their risk of preeclampsia.

Women who plan to take birth control pills or use other forms of hormonal birth control should get screened for high blood pressure before starting the birth control and should avoid smoking while using hormonal birth control.

Women who experience migraines with visual impairments, sometimes called auras, should avoid smoking. Finally, women over the age of 75 should be screened for atrial fibrillation, which increases stroke risk.

The best way to prevent a stroke is to partner with your doctor, determine your individual risk factors, and make lifestyle or medication choices accordingly. Watch neurologist Carolyn Brockington, MD, describe the main risk factors to be aware of. 

Dr. Robin Miller, MD
Internal Medicine
One simple activity can help women prevent strokes. Find out what it is in my video.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.