The end of January this year, a good friend had a major stroke which affected her cognitively and physically. How much of these losses she will recover is yet unknown. She remains in a rehab/long term care facility. Prior to this, she spent over a month in an ICU unit.

She was high risk for such an event: on blood pressure medication; pre-diabetic; overweight; dealing with high stress levels. She was experiencing some symptoms more indicative of heart issues than stroke. She hesitated seeking medical assistance and input. No way of knowing if this hesitancy worsened the effects.

Shortly after my father’s unexpected death 30 years ago, my mother had a stroke which altered her personality and caused seizures. Side effects from the medication for the seizures resulted in permanent physical issues including nerve damage. These issues made her descent into dementia all the more problematic.

As I posted, I am dealing with bouts of high blood pressure (having recorded it for several months, it creeps up, stays high for several days, then goes down to excellent levels only to repeat the pattern), a family history of heart disease and stroke, and my friend’s circumstances have made me acutely aware of the risk of stroke in women.

For more on this topic, see “Women Have a Higher Risk of Stroke,” American Stroke Association.