What Are the Causes of Stroke in Women?


Quick Answer

The factors that exclusively increase the likelihood of stroke in women include pregnancy, undergoing hormone replacement therapy and taking birth control pills, according to the National Stroke Association. Women who suffer from migraines with aura are also at increased risk for stroke.

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Full Answer

A stroke is caused by a disturbance in the normal blood flow to the brain, and they are either ischemic or hemorrhagic in nature, explains WebMD. An ischemic stroke is an occlusion in a cerebral artery, while a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when bleeding in the brain tissue results from a ruptured blood vessel.

The risk of stroke increases with age, according to WebMD. Individuals who are of African-American descent are also most likely to suffer from stroke. Other risk factors for stroke include a family history of stroke, high cholesterol levels, smoking or tobacco use, excessive alcohol intake and the use of certain medications. Those who have been diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, blood disorder and heart disease are at a higher risk for stroke. The Office on Women’s Health adds that childbirth and menopause are also known to contribute to the development of stroke in women.

As of February 2015, more than 795,000 individuals in the United States suffer from stroke every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, approximately 130,000 Americans die from stroke, placing it among the top causes of deaths in the United States.

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