Although changes in your vision are considered a common sign of stroke, according to the National Stroke Association, women’s visual symptoms also include hallucinations. Occipital lobes, “the powerhouse of interpretation of visual input,” according to Dr. Greene-Chandos, can become damaged by posterior circulation issues.
9. Taking Birth Control Pills or HRT
Dr. Greene-Chandos’ study also found that only 11 percent of women who were surveyed were aware of the risks related to hormone intake, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), that can lead to a stroke. According to the American Stroke Association, the pill could double your chances of having a stoke. “Oral estrogens tend to increase clotting factors made by the liver, leading to a higher risk of blood clots,” Dr. Rexrode said. While on oral contraceptives, some women tend to see their blood pressure increase. If you are considering contraceptives or HRT, be sure to ask your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and watch for changes.
8. Early Menopause or Early Menstruation
Dr. Rexrode’s research also found that the early onset of menstrual changes can significantly alter a woman’s risk for stroke. Starting menstruation before the age of 10 or menopause before the age of 45 can put a woman at a higher risk of a stroke. “During the years that a woman is menstruating, she produces higher levels of estrogen and other hormones,” Dr. Rexrode says, and the shortened exposure to these hormones might make the risk higher, though researchers are looking for deeper confirmation.Related: 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure