Women are more likely than men to experience a stroke, and also more likely to die as a result. That could be because different factors affect stroke risk and outcomes in women than in men, according to research published in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association. The research was conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine in Boston.
These risk factors include:
- Menstruation before age 10
- Menopause before age 45
- Low levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands)
- Taking oral estrogen or combined oral contraceptives
- Complications during pregnancy (gestational diabetes, hypertension)
Factors that increase stroke risk in both men and women include heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, as well as lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking alcohol, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet.