More women than men having mid-life stroke

June 20, 2007

More women than men appear to be having a stroke in middle age, according to a study published June 20, 2007, in the online edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Researchers say heart disease and increased waist size may be contributing to this apparent mid-life stroke surge among women.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 17,000 people over the age of 18 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Of the participants, 606 people experienced a stroke.

The study found women in the 45 to 54 age range were more than twice as likely as men in the same age group to have had a stroke. There were no sex differences in stroke rates found in the 35 to 44 and the 55 to 64 age groups.

“While our analysis shows increased waist size and coronary artery disease are predictors of stroke among women aged 45 to 54, it is not immediately clear why there is a sex disparity in stroke rates among this age group,” said study author Amytis Towfighi, MD, with the Stroke Center and Department of Neurology at the University of California at Los Angeles, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. “While further study is needed, this mid-life stroke surge among women suggests prompt and close attention may need to be paid to the cardiovascular health of women in their mid-30s to mid-50s with a goal of mitigating this burden.”

In addition, Towfighi says several vascular risk factors including systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol levels increased at higher rates among women compared to men in each older age group.

“For instance, with each decade, men’s blood pressure increased by an average of four to five points, whereas women’s blood pressure increased by eight to 10 points. Similarly, men had significantly higher total cholesterol levels than women at age 35 to 44, but men’s total cholesterol remained stable while women’s total cholesterol increased by 10 to 12 points with each decade, so that by age 55 to 64, women had significantly higher total cholesterol than men,” said Towfighi.

Towfighi says the study also found a greater than expected stroke surge among men who were nearing the end of middle age. Men aged 55 to 64 were three times more likely than men aged 45 to 54 to have had a stroke. Towfighi says the reasons behind this increase warrant further investigation.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Explore further: Fat distribution in women and men provides clues to heart attack risk

Related Stories

Fat distribution in women and men provides clues to heart attack risk

November 28, 2017
It's not the amount of fat in your body but where it's stored that may increase your risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes, according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of ...

Stressful events can increase women's odds of obesity

November 15, 2017
Women who experienced one or more traumatic lifetime events or several negative events in recent years had higher odds of being obese than women who didn't report such stress, according to preliminary research presented at ...

Eating regular variety of nuts associated with lower risk of heart disease

November 13, 2017
People who regularly eat nuts, including peanuts, walnuts and tree nuts, have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease compared to people who never or almost never eat nuts, according to ...

Under Affordable Care Act, Americans have had more preventive care for heart health

November 27, 2017
By reducing out-of-pocket costs for preventive treatment, the Affordable Care Act appears to have encouraged more people to have health screenings related to their cardiovascular health, a UCLA study found. Comparing figures ...

Sickle cell patients suffer discrimination, poor care—and shorter lives

November 13, 2017
For more than a year, NeDina Brocks-Capla avoided one room in her large, brightly colored San Francisco house - the bathroom on the second floor.

High blood pressure is redefined as 130, not 140: US guidelines (Update)

November 14, 2017
High blood pressure was redefined Monday by the American Heart Association, which said the disease should be treated sooner, when it reaches 130/80 mm Hg, not the previous limit of 140/90.

Recommended for you

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.