It can happen suddenly. A stroke can be caused by a blood clot or bleeding on the brain. “Face drooping, speech disturbance, weakness, and clumsiness on one side, headache, that sort of thing,” said Dr. Jon Brillman, a neurologist with Lee Health. “Most strokes are in elderly people. Patients that are over 70 are more prone to stroke,” he said.
But if you think you’re too young to have a stroke—doctors say, think again. “There is a subpopulation of strokes in young women, more so than young men,” said Dr. Brillman.
Doctors say there are three things that put young women at risk of having a stroke: migraines, smoking, and oral contraceptives—that’s because all three can cause blood clots in the brain. “Oral contraceptives also play a role because of the increased thickening of the blood that occurs with oral contraceptives, even the low dose ones are risky,” he said.
If a patient has any of the three risk factors, it’s important she talk to her doctor. “In young women who have migraines, we certainly ask them to stop smoking and avoid oral contraceptives,” he said.
Young women with a history of migraines, oral contraceptives, and smoking, may also be closely monitored during pregnancy and delivery. “There is a slight increase and somewhat of a risk in pregnant women particularly around the time of delivery of the baby. The blood gets thick and the veins in the brain may actually get clogged up and cause a stroke,” Dr. Brillman said.
Making it important to talk to your physician about your medication and lifestyle.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.