Posted by in Features.

Strokes kill almost twice as many women as breast cancer—and the death rate for Galway females is almost twice that of men. That’s in line with the national average, according to the Irish Heart Foundation which has released its shock stroke statistics to coincide with National Stroke Week which takes place this week.

The Galway rate was similar to the national average with 47% more women than men dying from stroke, according to provisional statistics for 2013 compiled by the Central Statistics Office. Out of a total of 89 stroke related deaths in the city and county, 53 women died compared to 36 men. Nationally 1,174 women died in 2013 and 82 7 men—a total of 2,001 stroke-related deaths in Ireland during the year.

Irish Heart Foundation Head of Advocacy Chris Macey said stroke is Ireland’s third biggest killer disease, so everyone should make sure they know the symptoms and understand that the only response when the disease strikes is to call an ambulance immediately.

But he added: “the higher death rate from stroke among women is not widely known. The fact is that stroke kills almost twice as many women as breast cancer in Ireland and we are particularly asking women to be aware of the F.A.S.T. warning signs during this year’s National Stroke Week.”

  • Face—has their face fallen on one side?
  • Arms—can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech—is their speech slurred?
  • Time—time to call 999 if you see any one of these signs.

During National Stroke Week, the Irish Heart Foundation will host its biggest stroke survivor day yet in Croke Park today (Thursday) offering free practical advice and support to stroke survivors all around Ireland.

This year marks the third year of the event and hundreds of stroke survivors will attend workshops and talks to avail of free expert advice about learning to cope with life after stroke. Irish Heart Foundation nurses also offer daily advice for stroke survivors through the National Heart & Stroke Helpline on Lo-call 1890 432 787.

According to the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke, the main reason more women die from stroke is that they live longer than men, resulting in a greater likelihood of being affected by the disease.

However, other factors are also at play such as the higher risk of stroke of women with atrial fibrillation than men with the same condition. Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat and is associated with strokes that are more severe and are more likely to be fatal.

“The good news is that acute stroke services in Ireland have undergone rapid improvement in recent years, which means that more people than ever are surviving stroke and getting their lives back in the aftermath. But to make the most of these enhanced services, it’s vital that people get expert help as FAST as possible,” added Mr Macey.