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Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that the stroke rate among pregnant women and new mothers is dramatically rising. According to hospital-discharge data between 1994 and 1995 and 2006 and 2007, the rate of stroke hospitalizations rose 47 percent for expectant mothers and 83 percent for women who had recently given birth.
Despite the fact that other important factors for suffering a stroke still remain, such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, this increase is worrisome according to the study authors. As Olajide Williams, a neurologist at Columbia University and an American Stroke Association spokesman, told USA Today, “that is a very, very alarm-raising statistic that we need to take extremely seriously. We need to be more aggressive in screening these women for these risk factors.”
The researchers suggested that high blood pressure and heart disease explained almost all of the increase in stroke after birth. Dr. Elena Kuklina, lead researcher from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “it is so important for woman wanting to start a family to understand the risks associated with pregnancy and to take steps to make sure they are as healthy as possible before they become pregnant.”
Every pregnancy has some risk of complications. The causes can be conditions women had previously, or conditions developed during the pregnancy. Causes also also include being pregnant with more than one baby, previous problematic pregnancie, or being over the age of 35. Concerning this issue Kuklina also said, “since pregnancy by itself is a risk factor, if you have one of these other stroke risk factors, it doubles the risk.”
Stroke can present itself with different symptoms, but the consistent factor is that it comes on unexpectedly. The American Stroke Association reminds people to call 9-11 immediately if someone experiences any weakness on one side of the body, face, arm or leg. They also suggest asking the person that could be suffering the stroke to smile, lift both arms, or move both legs. “If one side of the body doesn’t respond, it may be a sign of stroke”, they said.
Don´t go for the “diet”
Diet soda fans that drink the beverage every day also might be boosting their risk of stroke. According to a study made by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, there is a 61 percent risk of stroke among those who drank diet soda daily and not regular soda.
While the study found a possible correlation between diet soda and stroke risk, it did not demonstrate a cause and effect. As Hannah Gardener, an epidemiologist that participated in this study said, “the link is unknown at this point.”
Stroke is the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer, in the United States. More than 137,000 people a year die from stroke, according to the American Stroke Association.