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Healthy Women: How to reduce stroke risk

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Stroke kills twice as many women compared to breast cancer, making it the third leading cause of death for women in the U.S. But four in five strokes are preventable according to the Center for Disease Control.

"So the big risks for strokes in women are increasing age, the use of hormonal replacement therapy or birth control," says Dr. Andrea Manhart. "There are risks with atrial fibrillation of the heart as well as preeclampsia in pregnancy."

Dr. Manhart, a neurologist at UCHealth says hormone replacement therapy along with tobacco use and high blood pressure, and high cholesterol all increase the possibility of clotting which can lead to stroke. And the older women get, the more those things tend to increase.

"Stroke is higher for women than men because the stroke risk increases with age and typically females live longer than males," says Dr. Manhart.

But preventative care and making healthy choices every day can help lower your chances.

"If you can reduce obesity, you can reduce sleep apnea, you can reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol risks then you can ultimately reduce your risk of stroke," says Dr. Manhart.

And if something feels wrong, or you see someone having a stroke, time is of the essence.

"Time is brain and if you can get to the E.R. and if you can get there in certain amount of time there are clot busters that we can give you to help preserve function," says Dr. Manhart.

Facial droop, one-sided weakness, slurring of speech, and vertigo are the first signs someone is experiencing a stroke. If it is happening to you or someone you're around call 911 or go to the ER immediately.

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Brynn Carman

Brynn is an anchor on Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Brynn here.

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