Women at higher risk of stroke than men

May 17, 2023

Symptoms of Stroke May Also Vary Based on Gender

About every 40 seconds, someone in America has a stroke – a leading cause of death and disability. While we all share the same major risk factors (smoking, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, etc.), the American Stroke Association reports about 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.

“The stroke risk in women can be influenced by gender-specific factors, such as pregnancy, taking birth control pills, or using hormone replacement therapy,” explained Casey Smith, Neuroscience Program Coordinator at Bon Secours St. Francis. “There are also additional symptoms women may experience when suffering a stroke that are subtle enough to be missed or brushed off which can lead to delays in getting time- sensitive, lifesaving care.”

The most common stroke symptoms can be remembered using the BE FAST acronym:

  • Balance issues
  • Eyes, including loss of vision, double vision, or blurred vision
  • Facial Droop
  • Arm Weakness
  • Speech Difficulty, such as slurring words or becoming very confused
  • Time to Call 911!

In women, those symptoms can also include less recognizable red flags including fatigue, general weakness, memory problems, nausea, and vomiting. Any sudden change in or loss of function should prompt a call to a health care provider.

“You can also talk to your doctor about ways to improve your well-being and prevent stroke. Remember, up to 80% of strokes are preventable – whether that’s through making lifestyle changes, using certain medications, or having additional screenings to closely monitor things like blood pressure. Not only is it good for preventing strokes, but it can also help your overall health.”

Both Bon Secours St. Francis hospitals are Stroke GOLD PLUS achievement award winners – a distinction that recognizes a hospital’s commitment and success ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized and researched-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

Casey Smith

Bon Secours also created a Cerebrovascular and Stroke Advisory Council in 2018 to help improve Upstate stroke care. It brings together medical experts, stroke patients, and community members to discuss ways to increase awareness and stroke education as well as improve patient experiences and outcomes. If you’d like to get involved, you can contact the Neuroscience Program Coordinator, Casey Smith at [email protected] or by calling 864-255-1040.

To learn more about stroke treatment and care options provided at Bon Secours, visit bonsecours.com.

About Bon Secours St. Francis Health System

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System is part of Bon Secours Mercy Health, one of the 20 largest health systems in the United States and the fifth-largest Catholic health system in the country. The ministry’s quality, compassionate care is provided by more than 60,000 associates serving communities in Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia, as well as throughout Ireland. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System provides compassionate medical care to thousands of area residents through Bon Secours St. Francis Downtown and Bon Secours St. Francis Eastside, as well as a network of primary and specialty care practices, and ambulatory care sites across the Greenville region. The mission of Bon Secours St. Francis Health System is to extend the compassionate ministry of Jesus by improving the health and well-being of our communities and bring good help to those in need, especially people who are poor, dying and underserved. For more information, visit BonSecours.com.