World Stroke Day: Women, You're at Higher Risk
Here's how women can help prevent and recognize the signs of this leading killer
As part of World Stroke Day, this World Stroke Organization poster focuses on women and stroke.
Stroke is the first leading cause of death in the United States, and 60 percent of its victims are women. One in five women will have a stroke in their lifetimes, compared to one in six men.
Related: 6 Heart Attack Symptoms Women Ignore
About 50 percent of strokes in women and men are preventable, according to the World Stroke Association. Being overweight, smoking, being inactive and developing diabetes or high blood pressure are among the biggest risk factors for stroke. Women also have special stroke risks (see the infographic below).
For all these reasons, it’s crucial to know these five common symptoms of stroke: sudden confusion, trouble seeing, dizziness or difficulty walking, sudden severe headache for no apparent reason and sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body. Women may also have unique symptoms that make a stroke harder to recognize. The National Stroke Association urges you to pay attention to these lesser-known symptoms:
- Loss of consciousness or fainting
- General weakness
- Difficulty or shortness of breath
- Confusion, unresponsiveness or disorientation
- Sudden behavioral change
- Nausea or vomiting
If you develop these symptoms, experts say call 911 or have someone drive you to an emergency room immediately. The sooner you’re treated, the more likely you are to recover.