Product News and Recalls

Medical conditions can trigger stroke

While it’s impossible to predict exactly who will suffer a stroke, medical experts have identified a number of risk factors.

Among them are use of alcohol or tobacco, long periods of physical inactivity, pregnancy and use of birth control pills. Although all birth control pills can increase the risk of blood clots that trigger strokes, a number of studies indicate that pills with the compound drospirenone can increase that risk up to three times that of other oral contraceptives on the market.

Pills with drospirenone include Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz and Ocella.

But according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a number of medical conditions can put patients at heightened risk of stroke as well. They include the following:

— High blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, is a major risk factor for stroke. Smoking cigarettes, eating a high-salt diet or drinking too much alcohol can all cause a rise in blood pressure.

— High blood cholesterol can lead to the build-up of fatty deposits, called plaque, on the walls of blood vessels. If the plaque deposits get too thick, they can block the flow of blood to the brain and trigger a stroke.

— Common forms of heart disease can also heighten the risk of stroke. They include coronary artery disease, with its attendant buildup of plaque blocking the arteries that bring blood to the heart; heart valve defects; irregular heartbeat; and enlarged heart chambers. All can cause blood clots.

— Diabetes can both increase stroke risk and make stroke outcomes worse.

— A previous stroke or transient ischemic attack, also known as a “mini-stroke,” means there’s a greater chance that the patient could have a stroke in the future.

— Sickle cell disease, a blood disorder associated with ischemic stroke, mainly affects African-American and Hispanic children.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with a Beyaz lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries while on Beyaz or similar birth control pills.

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