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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
6-Feb-2014

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Contact: Darcy Spitz
darcy.spitz@heart.org
212-878-5940
American Heart Association

New guidelines for reducing stroke risks unique to women

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association scientific statement

For the first time, guidelines have been developed for preventing stroke in women.

"If you are a woman, you share many of the same risk factors for stroke with men, but your risk is also influenced by hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth and other sex-related factors," said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., M.H.S., author of the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

The guidelines outline stroke risks unique to women and provide scientifically-based recommendations on how best to treat them, including:

Preeclampsia and eclampsia are blood pressure disorders during pregnancy that cause major complications, including stroke during or after delivery, premature birth, and risk for stroke well after child-bearing. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine, and when seizure also occurs, this is called eclampsia.

High blood pressure, migraine with aura, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, depression and emotional stress are stroke risk factors that tend to be stronger or more common in women than in men. More studies need to be done to develop a female-specific score to identify women at risk for stroke, said Bushnell, associate professor of neurology and director of the Stroke Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The guidelines are geared to primary care providers, including OBGYNs.

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Co-authors are Louise McCullough, M.D., Ph.D.; Issam Awad, M.D., M.Sc.; Monique Chireau, M.D., M.P.H.; Wende Fedder, D.N.P., R.N.; Karen Furie, M.D., M.P.H.; Virginia Howard, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.; Judith Lichtman, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Lynda D. Lisabeth, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Ileana Piņa, M.D., M.P.H.; Mathew Reeves, Ph.D., D.V.M.; Kathryn M. Rexrode, M.D., M.P.H.; Gustavo Saposnik, M.D., M.Sc.; Vineeta Singh, M.D.; Amytis Towfighi, M.D.; Viola Vaccarino, M.D., Ph.D.; and Matthew Walters, M.D., M.B.Ch.B., M.Sc.

For the latest heart and stroke news, follow us on Twitter: @HeartNews.

For stroke science, follow the Stroke journal at @StrokeAHA_ASA.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association's science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.



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