VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It is right up there with heart disease and cancer.
Someone suffers a stroke in Canada every nine minutes while more than 400,000 of us are living with the after effects of the condition at any given time.
Now, a newly released report finds women are actually one-third more likely to die from a stroke than men, and are disproportionately affected.
Jessica Shirra was in and out of clinics and hospitals and was told she’d had everything from anxiety to migraines.
“My face was all droopy and I knew when I was talking that it wasn’t coming out English, it was all gibberish. So that was pretty scary and right away they rushed me into an MRI and found that I had had a series of multiple strokes.”
Finally, losing all feeling on one side in a hospital waiting room, it was confirmed she’d had a series of strokes over a number of weeks.
“I was walking out of the house and my leg sort of gave out. I remember looking at it and it didn’t even feel like my leg. It was the weirdest thing.”
She went undiagnosed over several weeks.
Women also tend to be older finds the all-encompassing report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
“Some are particular types of strokes that tend to affect older women like ones caused by irregular heart rhythms like atrial fibrillation,” explains Thalia Field, an assistant professor of medicine at UBC.
She says there are a number of social challenges women face as well.
“And the social factors like being less-likely to have social supports available to make it easier to return home or pay more attention to one’s role as a patient as opposed to a care-giver following a stroke.”
They’re also at higher risk at key stages like pregnancy and menopause.