Stroke is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in the United States, accounting for 7.5% of all pregnancy-related deaths. A recent major study by JAMA Network suggests that infertility treatments increase that risk. While stroke after infertility treatments remains rare, about 2% of all births in the U.S. involve infertility treatment and women should be aware of all health risks.
The study titled “Risk of Stroke Hospitalization after Infertility Treatment” analyzed the outcomes of 31 million women who had hospital births between 2010 and 2018 and found that infertility treatment was associated with an increased risk of stroke hospitalization within 12 months of delivery.
The risk of ischemic stroke, caused by blood clots, was 55% greater and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, caused by bleeding in or around the brain, was 100% greater for women who had infertility treatments than for those who had conceived without infertility treatments.
There are several possible causes for this increased risk. Infertility treatments are associated with a higher risk of pre-eclampsia and placenta abruption, which can be associated with high blood pressure and blood clots, increasing the risk of stroke.
Another possibility could be physiological changes due to the treatments, such as estrogen, which can increase blood clotting. There could also be some unknown health factors associated with women who are struggling with infertility, which may increase the risk of stroke.
The relative risk of stroke following infertility treatments is still very low––just 37 strokes per 100,000 women in the study who had undergone such treatments––but no one wants to be a statistic. The study recommends optimal screening for risk factors for stroke, so talk to your doctor about your risks before you begin treatments.
If your doctor’s evaluation determines an elevated risk of stroke in your particular case but you decide to go through with the treatments, take every precaution to keep a stroke at bay.
Ask your doctor for a health regimen that would not impede the efficacy of the treatments while decreasing your risk of stroke. This may include diet changes and exercise, as well as possible medications to control a condition such as high blood pressure.
Learn the signs of stroke or TIA (often called a mini-stroke) and do not hesitate to call your doctor or go to the hospital if you notice any signs. The most common symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the mnemonic, BE FAST:
- B – Balance difficulties
- E – Eyesight changes
- F – Facial droop
- A – Arm weakness
- S – Speech difficulties
- T – Time to call 911
If you are at high risk for stroke, consider adding Neuralert’s stroke detection wristband to your health protocols. Our wristbands look like a smartwatch and use a patented state-of-the-art AI algorithm to detect stroke symptoms in as little as 15 minutes and submit a warning message to your selected medical personnel. Help can be speeding your way within minutes, decreasing the time-to-treatment period, and increasing your chances for a full recovery. Ask your doctor about adding Neuralert to your health regimen.