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Women & Stroke: A Deadly Combination

Risk Two: Blood Clotting Disorder

If a person's blood is in a "hypercoagulable state," which basically means that it clots more than it should, she is at risk of having a stroke. "This type of blood can result in either blockages in brain arteries or clots that form in the heart but then flick off and lodge in the brain," explains Dr. Matarese.

You may be prone to this disorder if you've had more than one miscarriage, you or a close relative has had a blood clot in a leg or the lungs, or you regularly suffer from migraines with aura. A simple blood test that looks for specific antibodies that cause abnormal clotting can confirm this condition, which can be managed with blood-thinning medications.