Health & Spirit

Women are more likely to have a stroke: what to do about it

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Billie Jean King, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have unique strokes that propelled them to 12, 23 and 5 Grand Slam singles victories, respectively. Unfortunately, ischemic strokes are not that unique and slam a lot more women than men. Every year in the U.S. 55,000 more women than men experience those cranial vascular events.

That discrepancy caught the attention of researchers at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. Their research, published in Stroke, uncovered women's unique risk factors and highlighted their need to take aggressive steps to avoid a stroke.

After looking at hormone levels, hormone therapy, hormonal birth control, pregnancy and time of menarche and menopause, they found that the following were all associated with an increased risk of stroke:

--Getting your period before age 10.

--Experiencing menopause before age 45.

--Having low levels of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS).

--Taking oral estrogen (without aspirin), or a combined oral contraceptive (again, without aspirin).

True, only a fraction of women who have one or more of those risk factors will have a stroke. But, if any of them apply to you, you should embrace healthy behaviors that will reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke. That means seven to eight hours of sleep nightly; 10,000 steps daily; seven to nine servings of fruits and veggies daily; no red or processed meat or highly processed foods, and only 100 percent whole grains. And always ask your doc about taking an 81-mg aspirin twice daily if you take hormone therapy. Even men taking hormones should do this.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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