Longer Lives But Greater Risks: Why Women Have Higher Risk For Stroke

Women may live longer than men, but the risk of stroke is much higher as they age.

The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen. Once the supply of blood is reduced or blocked, like from a blood clot or high blood pressure, brain cells begin to die as they are not receiving the nutrients they need.

So, why are women more likely than men to have a stroke?

Let's take a look at the top 5 reasons, and the top 5 things that all women should be looking out for as they age.

1. Hypertension

High blood pressure, or Hypertension, can lead to hemorrhagic stroke. When some of the brain's arteries burst open, more pressure is added to brain cells and they are unable to receive oxygen. The risk of high blood pressure increases as women age.

2. Postmenopausal changes

The risk of heart and vascular diseases increase as we grow older. Things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which may be prompted by menopausal changes (or when estrogen intake decreases and testosterone levels cannot be raised) increase the risk of stroke.

3. Migraines with aura

Ocular migraines, or migraines with aura, involve visual disturbances like flashing lights or zig-zagging lines. Having this condition, during which blood vessels in the brain open and tighten, can more than double the risk of stroke.

4. Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is an irregular heart beat that usually causes poor blood flow. Women are more likely to have AFib, which puts them at five times greater risk of stroke.

5. Cerebrovascular disorders

Additional risk factors for stroke include aneurysms, or the enlargement of an artery, and subarachnoid hemorrhage, where blood fills the space between the brain and the tissues covering the brain. Women are most likely to have aneurysms and hemorrhages because of increased blood pressure.