MIGRAINES: Women are four times more likely to have migraines than men, and they often coincide with hormone swings. Migraines alone don't raise the risk of stroke, but ones with aura do. Using oral contraceptives and smoking raise this risk even more, so the guidelines urge stopping smoking.
IRREGULAR HEARTBEAT: Women over age 75 should be checked for atrial fibrillation. Doctors do this by taking a pulse or listening to the heartbeat.
MENOPAUSE: Hormone therapy should not be used to try to prevent strokes.
The new guidelines put women's issues "on the table" so more doctors talk about them, said Dr. Shazam Hussain, stroke chief at the Cleveland Clinic. "Gender does make a difference. The medical community has neglected it for some time."
Marilynn Marchione can be followed at http://twitter.com/MMarchioneAP
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