Stroke Awareness Month: The risks women face

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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Having a stroke is serious business, perhaps more so for women than for men. Consider:


  • More women age 45 and younger are having strokes than ever before.
  • Stroke is the third-leading cause of death for American women.
  • Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer.
  • 6 in 10 people who die of stroke are women.

What is a stroke? Now’s a good time to ask. May is National Stroke Awareness Month.


A stroke is a brain attack. Strokes are caused by a blockage to a blood vessel supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. That loss of oxygen and nutrients impairs the abilities controlled by that area of the brain.


But there is good news, ladies. Many strokes – up to 80 percent of them – can be prevented. Eat healthy and stay active. Aspirin may help, but ask your doctor whether it’s right for you.


Also, know your risks. The risk factors of stroke include high blood pressure, smoking, being overweight and having diabetes. Some birth control medicine may increase stroke risks, especially for women who smoke. Mental health issues also raise stroke risks.


Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression and anxiety, and women often have higher stress levels than men.


“Stroke usually presents itself as weakness on one side of the body – numbness, slurred speech, difficulty getting words out, and visual difficulties,” says Dr. Ziad Darkhabani, an Aurora BayCare interventional neurologist.


If you see any of those symptoms, get help fast. Strokes are medical emergencies. Call 911 immediately.


Aurora BayCare Medical Center is the only certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. It has the area’s largest team of neurointervention specialists, providing around-the-clock care for stroke patients.


Meet some of the women who have been treated for stroke by the experts at Aurora BayCare:


Kathleen’s story: Stronger every day

Donella’s story: Back in action

Donna’s story: Surviving two strokes

Sandra’s story: ‘Unbelievable’ care


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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.