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P1215 Women and Heart Disease

C H A P T E R 3 The risk of stroke High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke, especially if your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. Strokes occur when something interferes with the normal flow of blood to the central nervous system. 77 Ischemic strokes are caused by blood clots or cholesterol plaques that block the flow of blood through arteries. 77 Hemorrhages occur when arteries burst inside of, or on, the brain surface. When blood flow is interrupted, the brain doesn’t get the oxygen and nutrients it needs and cells begin to die. Relatively few brain cells will be affected if the interruption is brief, and the person may recover fully. Otherwise, the damage may vary to the degree of severity and can be permanent. Sometimes a small clot will briefly clog an artery, causing temporary weakness, dizziness or other symptoms. These “little strokes”—transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs—should be taken seriously as they often precede a major stroke. Warning signs of stroke 77 Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body 77 Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in only one eye 77 Loss of speech or trouble talking or understanding speech 77 Sudden, severe headaches with no known cause 77 Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls, especially if combined with any other symptom Anyone having a stroke should seek medical attention immediately. STROKE 12 abcardio.org


P1215 Women and Heart Disease
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