Most women are unaware of female-specific stroke symptoms and risks, according to a national survey by Ohio State

Most women are unaware of the symptoms and risks of stroke for females, according to a national survey by the Ohio State University‘s Wexner Medical Center. The survey found that just 11 percent of the 1,000 respondents knew that pregnancy, lupus, migraine headaches and oral contraception or hormone replacement therapy are female-specific stroke risks.

Also, only 10 percent of those surveyed knew that hiccups and atypical chest pain with or followed by typical stroke symptoms are early warning signs. According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death for women, and Diana Greene-Chandos, a neurologist and director of the neuroscience critical care at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, said, “We have a ways to go when it comes to educating women about stroke and their unique risk factors.”

Other symptoms unique to women include dizziness that is not class vertigo, headaches, atypical chest pain and/or numbness of the body, especially if one side is more numb than the other. Early recognition and treatment are key for strokes.

“Women do not think they are going to have a stroke,” said Greene-Chandos. “They think of it as a man’s disease.” The reality is that 60 percent of stroke deaths occur in females and 40 percent for males. Every year, 137,000 Americans die from a stroke. Smoking, failing to exercise and having high blood pressure are risk factors for both men and women. To take an assessment created by Ohio State’s stroke experts to determine risk of stroke, click here.

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