(CBSDFW.COM) – Stroke is the number four cause of death in women and kills more women than men.

Doctors say it is time to understand why women are more at risk for strokes.

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Monifa Thomas-Nguyen was barely 30 when she suffered one. “I was putting on my clothes and my right arm and my right leg just suddenly stopped working,” she said.

But that’s all what she remembers.

She lost consciousness for hours before her co-workers found her. At 30, she became a stroke patient.

Doctors say 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year. That’s because women are at an increased risk for developing high blood pressure at different times in their lives.

“These are, these are times in their life where you may have pregnancy and menopause and using a birth control pills can actually increase your risk of having high blood pressure, that ultimately leads to strokes,” Dr. Claudia Perez, neurologist at Texas Health Fort Worth, said.

Women with irregular heartbeat or on hormone replacement therapy are at a higher risk. Strokes often occur when a clot prevents blood from flowing to the brain.

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Doctors say following the FAST acronym can help spot early signs of stroke

Dr. Perez says F stands for facial drooping. “If you encounter a person who is having facial weakness or facial numbness, you may ask them if they can smile for you and then you want to look to see if there looks like there is an even smile,” she said.

A stands for arm weakness. “You may ask them to kind of spread out their hands kind of reach out, and then you want to see if their arm is either going up or down if their arm starts drifting down that may be a sign of our weakness,” she said.

S stands for slurring or speech difficulty and T means it is time to call 911 to get help.

Monifa’s recovery was long and hard fought. She was in a wheelchair for months and therapy for years. But she is proud of how far she’s come. She thanks her co-workers and her family for helping her through her journey.

She says along with diet and exercise, everyone should know their family history.

Her message to other women: “Take your symptoms seriously so i feel like especially for women, we tend to put other people ahead of ourselves a lot of times.”

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The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association has a lot of resources on their website including stroke quiz that can help determine your risk.

CBSDFW.com Staff