Why Do Women Have More Strokes?
Some stroke risk factors are unique to women. For instance, hormonal changes can raise a woman’s risk for stroke. During pregnancy, some mothers-to-be may develop pre-eclampsia—a form of high blood pressure. Certain birth control pills can also put a woman at higher risk for stroke. This is especially true if she smokes and is older than age 35.
Women—more than men—also tend to develop health problems that may lead to a stroke. These include obesity and atrial fibrillation (A-fib), a type of irregular heartbeat. People with A-fib are four to five times more likely to have a stroke. It commonly afflicts older people, especially women, because they often live longer than men.