American experts issue stroke prevention guidelines for women

IANS| Last Updated: Feb 08, 2014, 15:10 PM IST
Pic Courtesy:

Washington: American experts have issued 'how to prevent a stroke guidelines' for women, based on risks that are unique to them, and have also listed scientifically-based recommendations for its treatment.

The stroke prevention guidelines for women have been released with the help of an expert at the University of Alabama.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among Americans and 60 percent of strokes occur in women, according to the American Stroke Association, reports Science Daily.

"Men are physiologically different from women, so preventive tips cannot be one-size-fits-all," explained Virginia Howard, Ph.D. and co-author of the new scientific statement Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Women, published by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association Council on Stroke in the AHA journal Stroke.

"There are many considerations about stroke that might be different for women: Reproductive factors and risk factors more common or stronger in women, like diabetes and atrial fibrillation, might get lost in a general guidelines document," said Howard.

The guidelines report stroke risks unique to women and provide scientifically based recommendations on how best to treat them, including:

Women should be screened for high blood pressure before being prescribed birth control pills, which raise blood pressure in some women.

Women with a history of high blood pressure before pregnancy should be considered for low-dose aspirin and/or calcium supplement therapy to lower pre-eclampsia risks.

Women who have had pre-eclampsia are at twice the risk of stroke and a fourfold risk of high blood pressure later in life. Therefore, pre-eclampsia should be recognized as a risk factor well after pregnancy and other risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol and obesity in these women should be treated early.

Pregnant women with moderately high blood pressure (150-159 mm Hg/100-109 mm Hg) may be considered for blood pressure medication whereas expectant mothers with very high blood pressure (160/110 mm Hg or above) should be treated.

"Getting these preventive measures to doctors is exciting because it's an opportunity to start the conversation early; people think stroke is just an 'old person's disease,'" Howard said.

"While it generally is, it's also preventable. There are many things women can do at younger ages, during child-bearing years, which can impact stroke risk later in life."