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Stroke risk and prevalence increase with advanced age and women tend to be older than men at the time of their first stroke. Advanced age in women confers unique stroke risks that are beyond reproductive factors. Previous reviews and guidelines have largely focused on risk factors specific to women, with a predominant focus on reproductive factors and, therefore, younger to middle-aged women. This review aims to specifically describe stroke risk factors in elderly women, the population of women where the majority of strokes occur, with a focus on atrial fibrillation, hormone therapy, psychosocial risk factors, and cognitive impairment. Our review suggests that prevention and management of stroke risks that are unique or more prevalent in elderly women needs a coordinated system of care from general physicians, general neurologists, vascular and cognitive neurologists, psychologists, cardiologists, patients, and their caretakers. Early identification and management of the elderly woman-specific and traditional stroke risk factors is key for decreasing stroke burden in elderly women. Increased education among elderly women regarding stroke risk factors and their identification should be considered, and an update to the guidelines for prevention of stroke in women is strongly encouraged.


Aged, Anticoagulants, Atrial Fibrillation, Brain, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Stroke

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