New gender-specific guidelines target stroke prevention in women

The evidence-based guidelines, released by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association today, provide detailed recommendations on preventing stroke in women, who face increased risk of stroke due to pregnancy, birth control pills, migraine headaches with aura, and other factors.

Pre-eclampsia can double the risk of stroke and quadruple the risk of hypertension later in life, and should be recognised as a risk factor well after pregnancy, the guidelines said. 

Other specific recommendations included screening older women for atrial fibrillation, which is associated with five times the risk of stroke after age 75. Migraines with aura are also associated with significantly increased risk, and women who experience them should be encouraged to quit smoking. Pregnant women with moderately high blood pressure – 150–159 mmHg/100–109 mmHg – should be considered for anti-hypertensives.

“It is important to