Stroke is a danger to everyone, but women can face their own risks of suffering it during their lifetimes.

Pregnancy, preeclampsia, and long-term stress can increase your chances of stroke, so follow this advice from the Sierra News Online website for staying healthy:


Watch your blood pressure. High blood pressure is the top preventable cause of stroke, so keeping blood pressure under control is vital. Have it checked at least twice a year by your doctor, and more often at home when possible.

You can decrease your blood pressure by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco.


Know your risk from past pregnancies. High blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and blood clots during pregnancy all increase stroke risk, both during pregnancy and after.

Women who have had preeclampsia have three to four times the risk of high blood pressure and double the risk for heart disease and stroke, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation. They also have an increased risk of developing diabetes.


Manage your mental health. Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure and unhealthy decisions, like overeating or drinking too much. Carve out some time to relax every day.

Exercise and meditations can help keep your stress levels low. A therapist can suggest strategies for coping with stress.


Recognize the warning signs. Remember the word FAST to respond quickly to a stroke:

  • Face – Is one side of your face drooping? Do you have difficulty smiling evenly?
  • Arms – A suddenly weak or numb arm is a symptom of stroke, along with difficulty raising both arms above the head.
  • Speech – Are you slurring your words? Having trouble speaking or understanding other people? Try to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.”
  • Time to call 911 – Any of these symptoms means you should get to a hospital immediately, even if they go away. Keep track of the time so you can tell doctors exactly when the symptoms first appeared.

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