The facts are the facts: Women face a higher risk of stroke due to their increased risk of high blood pressure. According to the American Stroke Association, one in five women will experience a stroke in her lifetime, and Black women carry an additional increased risk.
This is why the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association, is focusing on women for Stroke Awareness Month. Throughout May, they are educating the general public on stroke risk and prevention. When you pass along this message, you support mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, and friends—the women in your life who may be extra stressed due to COVID-19. Help women prioritize their needs and health.
Being a woman brings an increased risk of stroke. Even before pregnancy, women on oral contraceptives need to be screened for high blood pressure. Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure during pregnancy, is not only a risk in the moment but can be a preview to an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke in the future. Black women are 60% more likely to experience preeclampsia. On the other end of the spectrum, there is an increased chance of developing high blood pressure after menopause.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
Did you know that you can monitor your blood pressure at home? Just as your doctor checks your blood pressure when you go to the office, you can get a simple device that does the same thing from home.
While it may seem like a weird belated Mother’s Day gift, it also sends a clear message: I care about your health.
Signs of a Stroke
The most important acronym to remember is F.A.S.T. Moving quickly in a medical emergency improves the chances of a better recovery. We’ve given you this acronym before, but let’s go over it again.
The “F” in F.A.S.T. stands for “face.” If you ask the person to smile, both sides of their mouth should go up at the same time. They may be having a stroke if their smile looks uneven and one side of their face is drooping.
The “A” stands for “arms.” Ask the person to lift their hands above their head. Do both arms stay up, or does one or both arms immediately fall again? They may be having a stroke if they can’t hold their arms above their head.
The “S” stands for “speech.” Anyone familiar with aphasia knows that speech can become slurred, garbled, or missing after a stroke. Ask the person to answer a few questions and judge whether or not their speech seems normal or strange.
Finally, the “T” stands for “time.” Getting help quickly is important during a stroke, so get the person to a hospital for evaluation if any of those symptoms exist.
Need this information in Spanish? American Stroke Association has your back.