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When the news broke yesterday that a 35-year old woman suffered a massive stroke, social networking sites and blogs exploded with messages of support and prayers.

As scary as it is to read the statistics, we need to know what we, as young women or people who care for young women, are facing when it comes to stroke risks. Not only do the studies and numbers underline that strokes are a very real, very serious medical issue for our segment of the population, it will also help us to encourage and empower one another to be aware of the symptoms and lower our own risk as much as possible.

Here are few key things every woman needs to know about strokes from

The chances of a young woman having a stroke are small but the consequences can be dire. For every 100,000 women of childbearing age, 4.4 will have an ischemic stroke. Ischemic strokes account for 85% of all cases. More than 250,000 women between the ages of 18 and 44 will have some kind of stroke. Stroke is the most common cause of long-term disability.

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Women’s stroke survival rate is concerning. Sixty percent of women who suffer from a stroke do not survive. Although more men have strokes, they are less likely to die as a result. Young women are more likely to die of a stroke than their chances of dying from both breast cancer and AIDS combined.

Age makes a difference. One study showed that there is a comparable rate of women and men who have strokes between the ages of 35 – 44 and 55 – 64. However, in the 45 – 54 age range, women are twice as likely to have a stroke than men. This startling disparity is thought to be caused by increased waist size and heart disease among women of this age. Researchers say reversing this surge of mid-life strokes for women will require greater attention to women’s cardiovascular health beginning in the mid-30s.

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