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Women face higher risk of stroke than men, new guidelines say

WASHINGTON — Women of all ages should pay more attention to the risk of stroke than the average man, watching their blood pressure carefully before they think about taking birth control pills or getting pregnant, according to new guidelines released Thursday.

Women are also more likely to have risk factors associated with stroke, such as migraines, depression, diabetes and an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation.

The new guidelines from the American Heart Association, published in the journal Stroke, are the first such recommendations to prevent strokes in women.

Stroke is the fourth-leading cause of death for all Americans but the third-leading cause of death for women, after heart disease and cancer.

. fast facts

Do's and don'ts of stroke prevention:

DO:

• Get your blood pressure checked before taking birth control pills.

• Talk to your doctor about taking blood pressure medication if you're pregnant and have moderately high blood pressure.

• If you're over 75, get screened for atrial fibrillation.

• Exercise regularly.

• Eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, olive oil and foods low in saturated fats.

DON'T:

• Smoke, especially if you get migraine headaches.

• Eat high-salt foods.

• Drink too much alcohol.

Washington Post

Women face higher risk of stroke than men, new guidelines say 02/06/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 6, 2014 9:58pm]
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