Infertility and miscarriage may increase women’s risk of stroke, study shows

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Charles Gullung/Getty Images As many as 12.2 million strokes occur each year — about half of which occur in women — but an estimated 80% of all strokes can be prevented by reducing risk factors.

A recent study shows that women who’ve experienced infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth are at a higher risk for both non-fatal and fatal stroke later in life.

The findings suggest that a greater frequency of miscarriages and stillbirths increases the risk.

While infertility and pregnancy loss may not be preventable, genetic factors or endocrine disruptions may help explain the association with increased stroke risk, according to the research.

Further research in this field will help us better understand why infertility, pregnancy loss, and stroke may be linked to help reduce stroke risk and improve treatments for infertility and pregnancy loss.

A stroke is the result of the brain being starved of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. This may occur because of a blockage (ischemic stroke) or burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).

A stroke is a medical emergency. The sooner a person receives treatment, the better their chances of recovery.

Globally, there are over 12.2 millionTrusted Source new strokes each year, and it’s estimated that 101 million people currently living have experienced a stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, stroke is a major cause of disability and a leading cause of death in the United States.

Because women tend to live longer than men, they have a higher lifetime stroke risk than men. As many as 1 in 5 women ages 55 to 75 experience a stroke.

To understand sex-specific factors contributing to stroke, new research published in June 2022 in the British Medical Journal shows that women who’ve experienced infertility, miscarriage, or stillbirth may have an increased risk of stroke.Is biological sex a risk factor for stroke?

Prior evidence has shown that the combined oral contraceptive pillTrusted Source and hormonal factors during pregnancyTrusted Source have been linked to increased stroke risk.

What the new research shows

The BMJ paper, led by Dr. Gita Mishra, a professor of Life Course Epidemiology at the University of Queensland, drew together data from eight long-term large studies that had been conducted in seven countries (Australia, China, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

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