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The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association have created guidelines for health care professionals for the prevention of stroke in women for the first time. The new recommendations have recently been published in the journal Stroke.
Approximately 795,000 Americans suffer from a new or recurrent stroke every year, with 60% of stroke deaths occurring in women.
But Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, of the Stroke Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina and co-author of the new guidelines, notes that women's risk of stroke can also be influenced by other factors, including hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth.
The new guidelines have been developed to take these factors into consideration.
To reach the recommendations, the committee chair of the American Heart Association (AHA) nominated a panel of health care professionals based on their previous work in relevant topic areas.
In May last year, the panel reviewed a series of studies associated with the risk of stroke in women.
They found that high blood pressure, migraine with aura, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, depression and emotional stress are all risk factors for stroke that are more common among women than men.
Preeclampsia and eclampsia are blood pressure disorders that can occur before or just after pregnancy. These conditions can cause severe complications for women, such as premature birth, stroke during or after delivery, and increased risk of stroke after birth.
Their analysis led to the development of a set of guidelines aimed at health care professionals, in an attempt to reduce stroke risk for women. These include the following:
The panel says that further studies are required in order to determine the risk of stroke in individual women.
The authors conclude:
"To more accurately reflect the risk of stroke in women across the lifespan, as well as the clear gaps in current risk scores, we believe a female-specific stroke risk score is warranted."
Since its launch in 2003, the AHA state that 23% more women now realize that heart disease in the number one killer in females, while 15% of women have quit smoking and high cholesterol levels have declined by 18%.
To find out more about National Wear Red Day and to see how you can help raise awareness, watch the video below:
Written by Honor Whiteman
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without the permission of Medical News Today.
Guidelines for the Prevention of Stroke in Women: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, doi: 10.1161/01.str.0000442009.06663.48, Cheryl Bushnell et al., published in Stroke, 6 February 2014. Abstract
The American Heart Association, news release, accessed 7 February 2014.
Visit our Stroke category page for the latest news on this subject.
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10 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/272351>
Whiteman, H. (2014, February 7). "Stroke prevention in women: guidelines set for the first time." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
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