What every woman should know about strokes

Signs of stroke: Two friends talking

Anyone at any age can get a stroke, but women are at a higher risk. While stroke is often seen as something that happens to seniors, the American Stroke Association says that young adults, children and babies can be victims.

Amanda Boyer
Amanda Boyer

Banner recently treated 33-year-old Amanda Boyer, who suffered from a stroke. Her physicians believe her risk was increased by her birth control pills. Boyer’s father recognized the signs and she was able to get treatment right away.

“I call it my ‘stroke of luck’; it was a rude awakening for me of all the things that I took for granted in my life: my family, job, health, my daughter,’’ said Boyer.

Women are at higher risk for stroke

About 55,000 more women suffer from a stroke each year than men. Also, one in five women are at risk. Common risk factors include preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy), birth control pills, hormone replacement surgery, irregular heartbeat and migraine sufferers who smoke. However, there are signs to look for if you suspect someone is having a stroke.

To recognize the signs of stroke, remember to think F.A.S.T.

  • F – Face.Observe the person’s face to see whether it looks uneven. Ask the person to smile.
  • A – Arm.Does one of the person’s arms drift down? Ask that person to raise both of his or her arms.
  • S – Speech.Does the person’s speech sound different? Ask him or her to repeat a simple phrase such as “the grass is green.”
  • T – Time.Immediate care for a person who is having a stroke is critical. If you notice these symptoms, call 911.

If a stroke is occurring, act fast

In a stroke, damage is done every minute of delay and it could cause you to be excluded as a candidate for treatment, said Jeremy Payne, MD, PhD, a neurologist at Banner — University Medical Center Phoenix.

“If you or someone you know seems to be having a stroke, call 911 and get to the hospital immediately. It can be extremely dangerous to wait. It is far better to find out that nothing is seriously wrong than to wait for the signs to progress,” Dr. Payne said.

The Banner — University Medical Center Phoenix has effective treatments for stroke and an excellent EMS that quickly brings patients to capable hospitals, Dr. Payne said.

What is a stroke exactly? How do you prevent a future stroke? Get smart about stroke at BannerHealth.com.

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