5 Stroke Risk Factors for Women

What you need to know

You may have heard that heart attack symptoms can be different for a woman than for a man. But did you know that the same holds true for stroke? The following five factors put women at higher risk.

1. Migraines

Women who experience migraines with aura, that is, seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, and blurred vision, have a stroke risk 2.9 times higher than those who don’t.

2. Hormone therapy

The risk of stroke may be higher in women older than 60 who are on hormone replacement therapy, or in women who began estrogen use more than 10 years after their last menstrual period.

3. Atrial fibrillation

Women with atrial fibrillation (AF or Afib), the most common form of abnormal heart rhythm, are more likely than men to eventually suffer a stroke.

4. Longer life

Women tend to live longer than men, which may account for the fact that more women than men eventually experience a stroke and die from it.

5. A history of taking birth control pills

Women who’ve taken oral contraceptives are at increased risk if they also have additional risk factors, such as being older, being a cigarette smoker, having high blood pressure, or having diabetes.