Women old and young are more vulnerable to strokes than men

Docteur Brigitte-Fanny Cohen, a commentator on health issues for the Télématin TV talk-show, has long stressed the importance of promoting a better understanding amongst the wider public of the threat posed by cardiovascular illnesses to women. On an episode of the show broadcast on Thursday 22nd March 2018, she returned to this topic, specifically, the greater vulnerability of women to strokes, especially if several contributing factors are brought into play at the same time. Four articles recently published in the US journal ‘Stroke’ have taken a closer look at the same issue.

According to the articles published in this periodical, strokes are more common in women than in men when several contributory factors are present simultaneously such as diabetes, obesity, being a smoker, not taking enough exercise, suffering from arterial hypertension or migraines. However, women’s hormonal activity can also significantly increase the risk of strokes, especially when women subject to the contributing factors already mentioned take the contraceptive pill or are receiving hormone treatment for the symptoms of the menopause.

Complex hormonal activity characterizes women’s lives. Some events associated with this such as early periods and premature menopause, or complications during pregnancy like Pre-eclampsia, can all increase the likelihood of strokes. Moreover, women who have had a stroke suffer more frequently from certain functional consequences than men do and are more likely to be affected by depression.

In order to combat strokes – the cause of 30,000 deaths in France, in the majority women – large-scale preventive measures need to be undertaken.In fact, strokes have become the number one cause of death in women affected by cardiovascular disease in France. There is an urgent need both to make women more aware of the contributory factors that place them at greater risk of this illness than men and to undertake research specifically looking at women’s cardiovascular health, as the Foundation for Cardiovascular Research – Institut de France has been doing.

See the video on France TV