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The Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease recognizes the gender disparity in stroke as a health crisis. To bridge the gap, we are providing educational resources and innovative research to support women in the stroke field and advance care for female stroke patients.
These facts are alarming, but the good news is something can be done to reduce the risk of stroke for women.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain is blocked by a clot or bursts. In either case, the brain is starved of oxygen and its cells begin to quickly die. There are three types of stroke: ischemic, hemorrhagic, and transient ischemic attack (TIA). Ischemic stroke is more common and is caused by a clot. Hemorrhagic stroke is when the blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain. Transient ischemic attacks are temporary clots but are just as emergent as the other types of stroke.
Women have unique risk factors, such as birth control medication, pregnancy and menopause, that put them at a higher risk for stroke. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is one of the main leading causes for stroke.
Prevention starts with keeping your medical conditions in control and practicing healthier lifestyle habits. A helpful guide is to follow your "ABCS".
A for Ask Your Doctor to determine what medications, treatments and services work best for you
B for Blood pressure – monitor your blood pressure levels routinely
C for Cholesterol – manage your cholesterol
S for Smoking – refrain from smoking
As a research institution, we continue to provide opportunities for our female colleagues to strive. Four of seven leadership positions within the institution are held by female colleagues and half of our vascular neurology fellows are women. In addition, many of our faculty and associates have contributed to gender and race disparity research within the stroke field.
The Stroke community continues to grow and evolve with the valuable contribution of bright and resourceful women; however, I hope that more women could get involve in the field, because it can really benefit from the insightful, organized and caring minds of women around the globe, who give their effort and dedication to advance research and treat their patients with excellence.
Juliana Gomez, Fellow 1