The female public is more affected by stroke and, therefore, should maintain a greater frequency of neurological exams | Photo: (New Africa | Shutterstock)
Today, stroke is one of the main causes of death in Brazil and around the world, and it is essential to understand the reasons behind this statistic. Women have a higher incidence of stroke, largely due to the complex hormonal variation they face throughout their lives.
Factors that place women in the risk group
Studies reveal that women are 1.5 times more likely to report non-traditional stroke symptoms, such as confusion, agitation, hallucinations and disorientation. In addition to hormonal variation, several aggravating risk factors deserve our attention. Women have a longer life expectancy compared to men, which can increase their exposure to risks.
Gestation, the use of contraceptives, migraines with aura and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are also related to the risk of stroke. Estrogen replacement, whether through contraceptives or postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy, has a significant impact in this scenario.
Types of stroke and symptoms
It is essential that everyone understands what a stroke is and how it manifests itself. Ischemic stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is stopped or drastically reduced, depriving neurons of essential oxygen and nutrients. Alternatively, a hemorrhagic stroke can occur when a blood vessel ruptures, leading to a brain hemorrhage.
The symptoms of a stroke can be silent and varied, but it is vital to recognize them in time. Tingling on one side of the body, weakness, change in vision, lack of strength to lift arms or legs, asymmetrical smile, nausea, vomiting and slurred speech are some of the signs that may indicate a possible stroke.
When you come across someone suspected of having suffered a stroke, it is crucial to remember the four words on the SAMU scale: “smile, hug, message and urgent”. This approach is simple to apply. The person is asked to smile, raise their arms as if they were going to give a hug and repeat a message. If the patient has an irregular smile, is unable to raise one of their arms, or when doing so, lowers it immediately, or, even, if they are unable to understand or repeat the message, it is necessary to act urgently and call SAMU.
Regular physical activity is essential to maintain good shape and health (Image: LightField Studios | Shutterstock)
10 tips to prevent stroke
To avoid the risk of stroke, there are preventive measures that must be adopted. Check out:
- Hypertension control: keep blood pressure under control;
- Stress management: learn to deal with stress in a healthy way;
- Adherence to the treatment indicated for diabetes: if you are diabetic, follow the treatment strictly;
- Reduction in cholesterol levels: maintain cholesterol at healthy levels;
- Weight maintenance: maintain a healthy body weight;
- Regular physical exercise: exercise regularly to keep your body in good shape;
- Abstention from smoking and drug use: avoid tobacco and illicit substances;
- Moderation in alcohol consumption: drink in moderation or avoid excessive consumption;
- Maintaining a healthy diet: opt for a balanced and nutritious diet;
- Carrying out regular check-ups with a gynecologist: consult a gynecologist regularly to take care of your feminine health.
It is important to highlight that more than 80% of stroke cases can be prevented by controlling these factors. By following regular medical monitoring, adopting an adequate diet and incorporating regular physical activity, the chances of having a stroke are reduced.
By Dr. Victor Hugo Espíndola, neurosurgeon and specialist in cerebrovascular diseases
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