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Stroke Aftermaths Poorer for Women

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 18 Feb 2014
Women who survive ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) have a worse quality of life (QOL) than men, according to a new study.

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (Winston-Salem, NC, USA), the Duke Clinical Research Institute (Durham, NC, USA), and other institutions assessed QOL in 1,370 patients (53.7% male, median age 65 years) following ischemic stroke or TIA at 3 and 12 months post-discharge. The researchers then evaluated the association between sex and the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D) scale, adjusting for socio-demographic, clinical, and stroke-related variables. The researchers also used a proportional odds model to assess sex differences in the continuing change in EQ-5D scores from 3–12 months after discharge.

The study findings showed that at three months, women had significantly lower QOL, and were more likely than men to report problems with mobility, pain and discomfort, and anxiety and depression. The difference in EQ-5D scores was greatest in those over age 75. At one year, women still had lower quality of life scores overall than men, but the magnitude of those differences had diminished. There were no sex differences in the pattern of changes in the EQ-5D score over time. The study was published on February 7, 2014, in the journal Neurology.

“As more people survive strokes, physicians and other healthcare providers should pay attention to quality of life issues and work to develop better interventions, even gender-specific screening tools, to improve these patients’ lives,” said senior author Cheryl Bushnell, MD, an associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist.”We found that age, race, and marital status accounted for the biggest differences between men and women at three months, with marital status being the most important.”

According to the U.S. National Stroke Association (Centennial, CO, USA), women experience stroke 55% more than men, and at least 1 out of 5 of these women die. In fact, strokes are on the rise in young women by up to 40%. One of the reasons women are more likely to die from a stroke is due to less common and are more easily missed risk factors, such as migraine headaches, contraceptive use, pregnancy, and giving birth.

Related Links:

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Duke Clinical Research Institute
US National Stroke Association


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