You either heard it on TV or read it in the newspapers that a recent study published in the journal Neurology found that “decreases in stroke incidence over time are driven by a decrease in ischemic stroke in men. Contrary to previous study periods, stroke incidence rates were similar by sex in 2010.” The study specifically noted that stroke incidence in men had “decreased to 192 per hundred thousand men in 2010, down from 263 in 1993–94. But for women the incidence was 198 per hundred thousand in 2010, down from 217 in 1993–94, a statistically insignificant change.”
A stroke occurs when oxygen cannot reach areas of the brain. Ischemic strokes account for 87 percent of all strokes according to the American Stroke Association and they are caused by a blood clot that forms around deposits of cholesterol and fat that obstruct an artery supplying blood to the brain.
Some experts conclude that the risk factors for stroke, such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, an irregular heartbeat and diabetes may affect women differently than men. Dr. Legato concurs but adds that “obesity is more common in women, and is often accompanied by high blood pressure and diabetes. Unfortunately, Black women are more susceptible to stroke than Caucasian women due in part to differences in diet and lifestyle. Weight control and regular exercise are the first steps in preventing strokes in both women and men.”
Some preventive measures include following low sodium diets, taking cholesterol and blood pressure medicines and giving up smoking—all of which aid in preventing strokes. Follow the American Stroke Association’s guidelines if you think you are having a stroke, respond “FAST“—