SPRINGFIELD – About every 40 seconds, someone in America has a stroke – a leading cause of death and disability. While we all share the same major risk factors (smoking, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, etc.), the American Stroke Association reports about 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.
“The stroke risk in women can be influenced by gender-specific factors, such as pregnancy, taking birth control pills, or using hormone replacement therapy,” explained Michelle Caesar, APRN-CNP with Mercy Health – Interventional Neurology. “There are also additional symptoms women may experience when suffering a stroke that are subtle enough to be missed or brushed off which can lead to delays in getting time-sensitive, lifesaving care.”
The most common stroke symptoms can be remembered using the BE FAST acronym:
• Balance issues
• Eyes, including loss of vision, double vision, or blurred vision
• Facial Droop
• Arm Weakness
• Speech Difficulty, such as slurring words or becoming very confused
• Time to Call 911!
In women, those symptoms can also include less recognizable red flags including fatigue, general weakness, memory problems, nausea, and vomiting. Any sudden change in or loss of function should prompt a call to a health care provider.
“You can also talk to your doctor about ways to improve your well-being and prevent stroke. Remember, up to 80% of strokes are preventable – whether that’s through making lifestyle changes, using certain medications, or having additional screenings to closely monitor things like blood pressure. Not only is it good for preventing strokes, but it can also help your overall health,” said Caesar.
Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center is a Stroke GOLD PLUS achievement award winner, a distinction that recognizes a hospital’s commitment and success ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized and researched-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.
Mercy Health – Springfield also partners with Ohio State Medical Center to ensure a board-certified stroke neurologist is available, 24/7. To learn more about stroke treatment and care options provided at Mercy Health, visit mercy.com.