Women and stroke is focus of Friday conference

Chattanooga, Tenn. – What do hiccups, chest pain and shortness of breath have in common?   All three are symptoms of stroke that are unique to women, which is the focus of the “Seventh annual Erlanger Stroke Conference” to be held this Friday, September 13 at the Chattanoogan Hotel.

Keynote speaker at this year’s conference is Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, Director of the Wake Forest Baptist Stroke Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.  Dr. Bushnell, an expert in the field of women and stroke, will open this year’s conference with her presentation on “Stroke and Neurovascular Disease in Women.”

“The conference focus on stroke and women’s health this year is both timely and pertinent,” said Dr. Thomas Devlin, Medical Director of the Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center.  “Women suffer more strokes than men and in some respects, it is actually a different disease,” he said, noting that “women have different risk factors than men and these risks – including cardiac disease and hormone replacement therapies – have to be managed very carefully.”

Dr. Devlin also emphasized that almost twice as many women die from stroke than men, with a mortality rate even higher than breast cancer.  “Symptoms of an impending stroke are different in women than men and are less likely to be reported and correctly diagnosed by physicians,” the local neurologist said, adding that the medical system needs to address discrepancies between men and women more effectively.  “Area residents, particularly women, have to be educated so they can better recognize the signs and symptoms of stroke,” he said.

Erlanger is the #1 stroke hospital in the United States by volume and a world-class leader in the latest stroke trials, clinical research and intervention. Among Erlanger’s many success stories are a local women who suffered a stroke in her 20’s, and another who had a child after surviving a stroke.