Stroke survivor Lynne Marie Sherry

After menopause, the sex hormones produced by a woman’s body that protect them against heart conditions and stroke disappear. This happens along with the natural aging process, and advancing age is also a risk factor.

Risk factors for heart conditions and stroke at this stage are risk factors for anyone, although women are disproportionately affected by high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and depression.

Additionally, women have been exposed to other risk factors throughout their lives that put them more at risk for heart conditions and stroke. These can include getting their first period early or late, complications in pregnancy such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes, or early menopause. These early risks, combined with advancing age, can have a negative impact on women’s heart and brain health later in life.

Women’s life stages and risk factors