Nightly News   |  February 06, 2014

Do You Recognize These Stroke Risk Factors?

For the first time, researchers have come out with a list of risk factors that all women should pay attention to regardless of age.

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>>> as we said, the health news tonight concerns women whose studies have shown are at a much higher risk than men of suffering a stroke as they get older. today for the first time, researchers are out with a list of risk factors that all women need to pay attention to regardless of age, we get our report from nbc's tom costello.

>> reporter: it happens every 40 seconds. someone in the u.s. suffers a stroke, among the greatest risk factors , especially for women, high blood pressure .

>> for women who unfortunately may have high blood pressure during pregnancy, it is very important to be measuring blood pressure after pregnancy even well after child-bearing.

>> reporter: a stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery to the brain or the artery ruptures, thousands die every year, perhaps surprisingly, 70% of them are women.

>> i ignored my symptoms for six days. you just can't do that. i'm so lucky to be here.

>> reporter: karen rostenos was only 50 when she suffer add brain stem stroke. had she know what to watch for she would have recognized she was a prime candidate, she was overweight, with very high blood pressure , terrible migraines with high blood pressure , and then she had the symptoms of a stroke.

>> slurring words, having difficulty walking and writing and all related to the one side of my body.

>> reporter: with stroke now the third leading cause of death for women, researchers have put together a list of risk factors , and preclampsia is a risk factor .

>> reporter: other risks, post-menopausal hormone therapy.

>> it is really important to see your doctor regularly to screen for stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure , stroke, diabetes.

>> reporter: having recovered, karen is now working to lose weight and keep her bp under control. lucky to be alive. tom costello, nbc news, washington.