Women and Stroke: Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer

Women and Stroke

Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer every year

Courtesy Twin Creeks Hospital, Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine

Did you know?

  • 425,000 women suffer from stroke each year, 55,000 more than men
  • Only 27% of women could name more than two or three of  the six primary stroke symptoms
  • Seven out of 10 women said they are not aware they are more likely than men to have a stroke, and were not at all or only somewhat knowledgeable about risk factors
  • African-American women suffer a significantly higher number of strokes than Caucasian women, yet African American women were less likely to correctly identify what causes a stroke compared to Caucasian women.
  • Stroke is a leading cause of death from Hispanic women but Hispanic women were significantly less aware of stroke symptoms than Caucasian women.

This survey was commissioned by HealthyWomen, the nation’s leading independent health information source for women, in partnership with National Stroke Association and the American College of Emergency Physicians. Conducted by Harris Interactive in 2010, support of the survey was provided by Genetech, Inc.

All women need to be educated on the signs of a stroke and the unique signs women may report. Every minute counts for stroke patients and acting F.A.S.T. can lead patients to the stroke treatment they desperately need. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within the first three hours of the first symptoms.

Common stroke symptoms in both men and women:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg—especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Women may report unique stroke symptoms:

  • Sudden face and limb pain
  • Sudden hiccups
  • Sudden nausea
  • Sudden general weakness
  • Sudden chest pain
  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Sudden palpitations

“Understanding the warning signs is important because there are treatments we can give for stroke. If you understand the warning signs and get to the hospital quickly we can even possibly reverse the stroke itself,” says Dr. Dawn Kleindorter, assistant professor of neurology at University of Cincinnati School of Medicine.

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act  F.A.S.T. and do this simple test;

F – FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A – ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

S – SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T – TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately

Managing your stroke risk is important but does not guarantee that you won’t be touched by stroke in some way or another. Stroke will affect four out of five families over the course of a lifetime.

Those lucky enough to survive strokes will often need a family caregiver, and more than half (59-75%) of all family caregivers in the U.S. are women. In fact, the average caregiver is a married 46-year-old working woman earning $36,000 per year.

Caregiving is vital to the recovery process but can be overwhelming for the caregiver. If you find yourself caring for a stroke survivor, consult National Stroke Association for steps you can take to make the transition from hospital to home easier on everyone.

Twin Creeks Hospital conducted extensive rehabilitation trails to help identify effective ways to deliver rehabilitation treatment and care, and improve the quality of life of stroke survivors. Additionally, TCH has developed a stroke survivor support group to provide survivors with continued support, and education. Stroke survivors are encouraged to take part in TCH’s monthly stroke support groups and community seminars are available to provide the public with more information about the stroke.

Twin Creeks Hospital, Allen is a specialty physical medicine and rehabilitation facility, Texas licensed special hospital; Medicare approved inpatient rehabilitation facility, and Joint Commission healthcare organization, serving the immediate areas of Allen, McKinney, Plano, and other north Texas communities.

Additional information on stroke can be obtained by calling Twin Creeks Hospital at 972-908-2000 or by visiting their website www.twincreekshosp.com.