Urgent warning to women who have suffered a miscarriage over the threat of a silent killer

WOMEN who have suffered a miscarriage are warned of an increased risk of stroke, according to a new study.

Experts examined global data and found that women who had three or more miscarriages appeared to have a 35% increased risk of having a nonfatal or fatal stroke.

In a new study, infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth have been linked to an increased risk of stroke


In a new study, infertility, miscarriage and stillbirth have been linked to an increased risk of strokePhoto credit: Getty

One miscarriage was associated with a 7% increased risk of nonfatal stroke, while two were associated with a 12% increased risk.

For fatal stroke, women with a miscarriage had an 8% increased risk, two were associated with a 26% increased risk, and three were associated with an 82% increased risk.

A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first three months of pregnancy, with a “late miscarriage” being defined by the charity Tommy’s as between 14 and 24 weeks.

The study also found that women who suffered a stillbirth had a 31% increased risk of nonfatal stroke and a 7% increased risk of fatal stroke.

Meanwhile, recurrent stillbirth has been linked to a 26% higher risk of fatal stroke.

Infertility was also associated with a 14% higher risk of nonfatal stroke compared to fertile women.

The researchers suggested possible reasons for the findings, including that the link between infertility and increased risk of stroke may be due to conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and premature ovarian failure (POI).

Narrowing of the heart’s blood vessels may also explain the increased risk of stroke for women with a history of repeated stillbirths or miscarriages.

However, the team also said that unhealthy lifestyles contribute to stroke risk, as they called for more research in this area.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

The FAST method — which stands for Face, Arms, Speech, Time — is the easiest way to remember the most common stroke symptoms:

f = Droopy face – if one side of a person’s face droops or is numb then ask them to smile, if it is uneven then you should seek help.

A = Arm weakness – if one arm is weak or numb, you should ask the person to raise both arms. If an arm is drifting down, you may need to get help

S = Difficulty speaking – If a person’s speech is slurred, it could be a sign of a stroke

T = Time to call 999 – if a person exhibits the above signs they need to call 999 in the UK or 911 in the US for emergency care.

Writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the experts, including from the University of Queensland in Australia and University College London, concluded: “A history of recurrent miscarriage and death or loss of a baby before or during delivery could be considered female -specific risk factor for stroke, with differences in risk depending on stroke subtypes.

“These results could contribute to improved surveillance and stroke prevention for women with such a history.”

For the study, the team looked at eight research groups conducted in Australia, China, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and the US.

A total of more than 600,000 women aged 32 to 73 years were enrolled at baseline, of whom 9,265 (2.8%) experienced a first nonfatal stroke, typically at age 62, and 4,003 (0.7%) suffered a fatal stroke, typically 71 years old.

What Are Early Miscarriage Symptoms?

The most obvious sign that a woman is having a miscarriage is bleeding, which can range from light spotting to severe blood clots.

However, remember that some bleeding in the first three months of pregnancy is normal and does not necessarily mean miscarriage. Contact the obstetric team or GP as soon as possible.

Other symptoms of miscarriage include:

  • Cramps and pain in the lower abdomen
  • a discharge of fluid from your vagina
  • a discharge of tissue from your vagina
  • pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and breast tenderness no longer occur

Stroke was identified through self-reported questionnaires, hospital records, or national patient registries.

Fatal strokes were recorded through death registers.

Factors that can affect the results, such as body mass index and whether women have smoked, were considered. Women with nonfatal stroke before age 40 were excluded.

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in women worldwide.

Figures suggest that around three million women died from a stroke in 2019 and millions more live with persistent disability. Urgent warning to women who have suffered a miscarriage over the threat of a silent killer

Sarah Y. Kim

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