, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 347-353

Stroke prevention in women: Challenges and opportunities

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Abstract

Women have a 20% lifetime risk of stroke. In addition, the majority of stroke-related deaths occur in women. Reducing the burden of stroke in women through prevention would positively affect public health. Unfortunately, most of the data used to develop specific evidence-based guidelines for stroke prevention in women were derived from coronary heart disease studies. Stroke was a secondary and less common outcome, if it was included at all. In addition, women have traditionally been underrepresented in stroke prevention trial cohorts. Stroke prevention in women offers many challenges, not only related to data extrapolated from clinical trials primarily composed of men, but also because physicians may underestimate cardiovascular risk in women, and therefore prevention strategies may not be appropriately undertaken. The opportunities to improve stroke prevention in women include increasing patient and physician awareness of risk and optimizing management of key modifiable risk factors (eg, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, physical inactivity, obesity, and diabetes).