This year, nearly half a million women will have a stroke. The June 2013 Harvard Women's Health Watch offers eight steps women can take to limit the chances a stroke will strike.
Women can't do anything about two leading contributors to stroke—age and family history. But there are many other stroke risk factors they can control. Becoming aware of them is the first step. "Knowledge is power," says Dr. Natalia Rost, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Acute Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. "If you know that a particular risk factor is sabotaging your health and predisposing you to a higher risk of stroke, you can take steps to alleviate the effects of that risk."
Stroke-reducing steps include:
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