Most people don’t realize that risk factors and even symptoms or signs of a stroke differ between women and men. If you care for an aging loved one, it’s important to know what the risk factors are, and what symptoms to watch for so that you know when to seek medical attention.
For Women, Primary Risk Factors include:
Taking birth control pills, pregnancy, and HRT or hormone replacement therapy. While you probably don’t have to worry about pregnancy or birth control pills with an elderly female, hormone replacement therapy is another matter. Medications given during menopause usually increase estrogen levels, along with the risk of stroke. Of course diabetes and smoking also increase the risk of stroke, however this is true of both women and men.
The symptoms of a stroke in women may include sudden weakness in one side of the body or numbness in the face, arm, or leg; or sudden headache or loss of balance. Other symptoms more common in women than men include agitation, shortness of breath, seizure, hallucinations, nausea, or even hiccups.
For Men, Common Symptoms of A Stroke include:
Difficulty speaking, arm weakness, and drooping of one side of the face (the most common symptoms). As with women, smoking and diabetes are risk factors that should be taken into consideration. If you notice a male loved one’s smile is lopsided or he complains one side of his face is numb, it could indicate a stroke. Slurred speech that’s hard to understand is also common, along with sudden weakness in an arm.
Of course diet plays a role since those with elevated levels of “bad” cholesterol are known to be at a higher risk of stroke. This is usually caused by a diet that is higher in fat as is the case when you consume a lot of cheese, butter, fried foods, processed foods, dairy products, saturated fats, and foods known to be unhealthy in terms of contributing to high cholesterol. Thankfully, this problem isn’t as prevalent in California as it is in many of the Southern states.
If you suspect an aging loved one is exhibiting symptoms of a stroke, seek medical attention immediately. You can reduce the damaging effects of a stroke, but it’s important to act quickly.
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