Stroke is a life-threatening serious medical condition in which blood supply to the brain is cut off. It is a brain attack that causes long-term disability. Stroke can affect anyone at any age and although stroke during childbearing years is rare, it can be annihilating when it attacks the pregnant woman who is filled with dreams of starting a new family. In fact, there are several causes of stroke that are specific to pregnancy and the postpartum period-preeclampsia, eclampsia, amniotic fluid embolus, postpartum angiopathy and postpartum cardiomyopathy.
Infection Becomes a Risk Factor for Stroke
A new research says that pregnant women who have an infection when they enter the hospital for delivery are at a great risk of having a stroke during their stay. The research analyzed whether infections contributed to stroke risk during peripartum (shortly before or after childbirth).
Although maternal strokes are rare, only about 30 out of 1,00,000 pregnancies, mortality rates are tremendous. The research was carried on large-scale involving 2.8 million women who were hospitalized for delivery between 2007 and 2011. Contained among these women were 455 patients who were victims to stroke during the hospitalization. Results showed that:
Confined to pregnancy, this condition is characterized by high blood pressure and affects almost 5-8% women in their pregnancy term. Women with preeclampsia are at a higher risk of stroke during pregnancy and after delivery, especially when they have urinary tract infections, chronic high blood pressure and bleeding or clotting disorders. In yet another study of women who were hospitalized between the years 2003 and 2012, researchers identified 88,857 women with preeclampsia out of which 197 were affected with pregnancy-related stroke. The irony here is that more than 1 in 10 of the preeclampsia-related strokes were fatal. Women affected by preeclampsia and pregnancy-related stroke were 3 times likelier to suffer from infections when they arrive at the hospital or 7 times likelier to suffer from severe preeclampsia.
Although preeclampsia is a common disorder, many people are not aware of its association with stroke. Women, especially in their postpartum period, must take any neurological symptom, including severe headache, seriously.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.