Monday, February 4, 2008

Women: Age Gracefully -- Protect Yourself from Stroke

Studies show that one-third of strokes in women occur early -- that is, before the age of 65. Indeed, in the age group 45-54, women are twice as likely as men to suffer a stroke. A recent study of 17,000 patients attempts to define predictive risk factors among such women. The information is simple, straighforward, and quite practical. Importantly, it provides a quick checklist of features to review and correct.

Specifically, strokes were more prelelant in women with a large waist circumference, known heart disease, or recent migraine headache with aura. Other risks for stroke include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Overall, these risks are similar to those we've discussed on the Blog many times in reference to prevention of heart disease. Younger women, however, may feel somewhat protected. Studies like this one should serve as a wake up call of sorts. We're prone to regard stroke as a disease of prevention. Accordingly, if you have more than one of the risks listed and you are a gracefully aging female, ask your doctor what you can do to stay that way.

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