Nov 15 2011
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Stroke in pregnancy is an emerging health problem
Doha, Women who delay pregnancy until a later age are placing themselves at increased risk of stroke, according to Dr. Matthew Fink, Professor of Clinical Neurology and Interim Chairman and Neurologist-in-Chief of the Department of Neurology and Neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.
Speaking at the monthly community health seminar, Medicine & U moderated by Professor Basim M. Uthman at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Dr. Fink said the increasing prevalence of hypertension, cardiac disease, obesity and diabetes also adds to the risk of stroke for mothers.
Current medical research indicates that there is also a high prevalence of diabetes, obesity and hypertension among women in Qatar and the Middle East, making this an important issue for expectant mothers in the region. The prevalence of obesity and hypertension suggests that cardiovascular disease will be a major health problem in the Middle East.
There is a greater risk of stroke for pregnant women due to a higher volume of blood in the body and also because of increased risk of high blood pressure, blood clots and migraine headaches. According to doctors, hormones and blood pressure fluctuate wildly in the weeks after giving birth, which may increase risk during that time.
Dr. Fink said stroke prevention should focus on risk factor reduction, particularly hypertension, and older women should seek excellent prenatal care. Practical lifestyle changes including weight reduction, regular exercise, a healthy diet and less salt in the diet can help to lower high blood pressure. In vitro fertilization also raises a host of new questions and potential problems that require study, especially in older women, Dr. Fink said.
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar is part of Weill Cornell Medical College. It was established in 2001 through a partnership between Cornell University and Qatar Foundation. WCMC-Q offers an innovative educational program that includes a two-year premedical program followed by a four-year medical program leading to the M.D. degree from Cornell University. Each program has a separate admission process guided by the standards of admission at Cornell University in Ithaca and its Medical College in New York City.
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