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P1136 Women and Heart Disease

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. 77Hemorrhages 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 ■■ Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body ■■ Sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in only one eye ■■ Loss of speech or trouble talking or understanding speech ■■ Sudden, severe headaches with no known cause ■■ Unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls, especially if combined with any If you think you’re having a stroke, get help right away. In some cases, medication can stop a stroke and even reverse some of the damage—but they must be used as soon as possible. © 2016 WomenHeart, ABC, CardioSmart, and StayWell. All rights reserved. Warning Signs of Stroke Download/print this PDF other symptom ■■ Call 911 or have someone else call. DO NOT try to drive yourself to the hospital. ■■ Wait for help to arrive. Unlock your door if you can. ■■ Rest in a comfortable position. Loosen tight clothing. ■■ Don’t panic; try to remain calm. ■■ Don’t ignore the signs or tell yourself they will pass. English Español A PATIENT RESOURCE GUIDE Women and Heart Disease Chapter 1: Managing high blood pressure 18


P1136 Women and Heart Disease
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