Can you identify which month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? What about the color that’s associated with breast cancer awareness? If you’re familiar with women’s health topics, these answers may come easy. While breast cancer certainly deserves your attention, can you also answer these same questions about stroke?
Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death among women—killing twice as many women each year than breast cancer. While both sexes are susceptible to strokes, women make up 60 percent of all stroke deaths.
The good news is that understanding the risk factors and taking the proper precautions could eliminate 80 percent of these stroke cases.
It’s not just by chance that women are more likely to have a stroke than men. There are several risk factors for stroke that target women over men, including:
A few additional risk factors don’t make stroke inevitable for women. In fact, most cases of stroke can be prevented by using the two “Cs”: control and change.
Control—Managing your blood pressure and cholesterol is one of the most important things anyone can do to avoid stroke. Also, be sure you have other health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, under control. Seeing a primary care physician regularly is the best way to keep all of these factors in check.
Change—Certain lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping you avoid a stroke. Quit smoking and reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to help lower your blood pressure. Add regular exercise to your routine to help with blood pressure, cholesterol and weight management.
By incorporating proper control and change into your life, you can greatly reduce your risk of having a stroke. However, don’t forget that stroke can still happen to anyone. Be aware of the primary signs of stroke, such as sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side, sudden confusion or trouble speaking, sudden trouble seeing, and sudden severe headache. If you experience any of these common symptoms, call 911 immediately.