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Women & Stroke: A Deadly Combination

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Risk Three: Pregnancy History

Although women's stroke rate is highest during the six weeks around the delivery of a baby, personal pregnancy experience can impact stroke risk long after the baby is born. Research conducted by Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has revealed that women who developed pre-eclampsia (a form of high blood pressure) or gestational diabetes during their pregnancies are twice as likely to have a stroke by age 40 as women whose pregnancies were uncomplicated. This may be because of damage done to the blood vessels during pregnancy.

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