Women & Strokes

RENO, NV - New mom Lorinda Donough was able to deliver a completely healthy baby.

That was in question a couple of months ago, when she developed gestational diabetes.

But now another question looms and it has to do with her future.

“I'm hoping since I don't have a family history of it and I'm not a typical gestational diabetic, that I just had it during my pregnancy,” says Donough.

It's a legitimate concern.

Particularly as diabetes is a risk factor for stroke.

The American Heart Association is warning women about their chances of having a stroke--unique to their gender, biology, and lifestyle choices.

Beginning with birth control pills.

The AHA warns women the contraceptive can contribute to stroke, especially if the woman smokes or has high blood pressure.

Pregnancy can also put a woman at risk, particularly if she develops a condition known as preeclampsia.

The risk for stroke doubles and she has a four-fold chance of developing high blood pressure later in life---high blood pressure also puts women at risk for stroke.

Women who have migraine headaches with aura, the AHA says, should stop smoking to decrease their chance of stroke.

”So this is bittersweet news. The exciting part is that they have identified women and younger women who need to take ownership and responsibility for themselves and identification of their stroke factors,” says Shelly Hunt, RN, Northern Nevada Medical Center Emergency Director.

Women make up more than 53% of the 795,000 strokes that occur each year in the U.S.

If you are a woman or man you need to know the warning signs of stroke.

Think of the word FAST.

F being facial expression... is there paralysis?

A is for arms... are they weakened?

S is for slurred speech.

T is for time.

If these signs appear, call 9-1-1.