Pregnant Women, New Moms See Alarming Rise in Strokes

Category: Health / Jul 29, 2011 5:59PM EDT
The federal government warned Thursday that the stroke rate among pregnant women and new moms has increased to an alarming rate and is most likely being caused by a list of risk factors including obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Based on analysis of hospital-discharge data, researchers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention found that between 1994-95 and 2006-07, the rate of stroke hospitalizations rose 47 percent for expectant mothers and 83 percent for women who had recently given birth. While the rate of overall incidence remains relatively low at .22 stroke hospitalizations per 1000 expectant and new moms, the increase is certainly being interpreted as worrisome. Olajide Williams, a neurologist at Columbia University and an American Stroke Association spokesman, told USA Today that quote, “That is a very, very alarm-raising statistic that we need to take extremely seriously. [And that] We need to be more aggressive in screening these women for these risk factors. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. While it can present itself in a variety of symptoms, the one consistent element is that strokes manifest spontaneously and suddenly. The ischemic stroke, which is the most common form, is caused by a blood clot, while the less common hemorrhagic stroke, is caused by bleeding in the brain. Based on the recent findings, doctors are urging women wanting to start a family to make sure they are as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant and that they familiarize themselves with the risks associated with pregnancy.