American associations set up official guidelines for stroke prevention

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

According to reports, the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association have set up new guidelines for the prevention of stroke in women, As many as almost 800 000 women suffer from stroke annually in the US and there is reportedly a minimum of one and up to three strokes per day in Barbados according to cardiologist Anthony Harris, MD.

The guidelines set up, according to reports in the journal Stroke suggest that the risk factors – obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking as well as alcohol use and lack of exercise have been factored into the guidelines.

Interestingly, they have also identified migraine with aura, depression and emotional stress as well as diabetes as risk factors more common among women than men.

There are other factors that have also been taken into consideration by the co-author of the study Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, of the Stroke Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina and these include hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth.

Some of the new guidelines include but are not restricted to the use of low-dose aspirin where indicated, calcium supplementation, the screening of women with high blood pressure before placing them on the birth control pill. In addition, the report suggests that women who have migraine with aura should stop smoking while women who have had pre or post eclampsia may be at increased risk for stroke and as such should be treated for obesity, smoking and high cholesterol. The report also suggested that women aged 75 or over should be screened as atrial fibrillation may also provoke a stroke.

The group who authored the study suggested that more research needed to be done to determine the risk for stroke in individual women.

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