Stroke related to pregnancy in older women is well-known. New research from Columbia University Medical Center finds pregnant women between the ages 35-44 have stroke rates roughly the same as those who are not pregnant.
There’s concern now for younger women, those under 35. Research showed that 1 in 5 strokes were related to pregnancy. Much higher than women in the same age bracket who are not pregnant.
More research is needed to understand why pregnancy is causing stroke in young women.
Women of all ages should be aware that high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity are factors associated with stroke. These health issues are happening at younger and younger ages.
Women should lead a healthy lifestyle PRIOR to getting pregnant. To get started, here are my prescriptions:
1. Keep your weight in a healthy range
Losing 10 pounds or more can impact your risk for stroke
2. Get regular physical activity
Exercising 5 or more times a week can also reduce your stroke risk
3. Keep Diabetes Under Control
High blood sugar can damage blood vessels making clots more likely to form.
4. Don’t Smoke or Quit
Cigarettes increase your risk by accelerating clot formation. Quitting greatly reduces your risk.
Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death here in the United States. It’s a medical emergency. If you have sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg; sudden confusion or trouble speaking; trouble walking; dizziness or sudden severe headache, call 911 or get to the emergency room for medical help immediately.