HealthDay News – New guidelines released by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association highlight unique stroke risk factors in female patients.

Of the estimated 6.8 million patients in the United States who have had a stroke, 3.8 million of those patients are female.

“At the time of stroke, women are older and more likely to be living alone and have worse premorbid status than men,” wrote Cheryl Bushnell, MD, MHS, of the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues.

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“After stroke, they also are more likely to be institutionalized and have a poorer recovery and worse quality of life than men,” Their synopsis of the guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Some stroke factors are stronger or more prevalent among female patients, including hypertension, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, and migraine headache.  Stronger risk factors like hormonal contraception, menopause and hormone replacement, and depression and psychosocial stress, are also stronger in female patients.

“We hope that this guideline will spur additional research to determine the best approaches to stroke prevention for both men and women,” wrote the authors.


  1. Bushnell C et al. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2014; doi:10.7326/M14-0762