Midlife Stroke Most Common in Women
Stroke Risk More Than Twice as High for Women as Men Aged 45-54
WebMD News Archive
June 20, 2007 -- The chance of having a stroke from ages 45 to 54 may be
more than twice as high for women as for men.
Researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) report
that news online in the journal Neurology.
Amytis Towfighi, MD, and colleagues reviewed data from national health
studies completed by some 15,300 U.S. adults between 1999 and 2004.
interviewed in their homes about their medical history. During those
interviews, they were asked if a doctor had ever told them that they had had a
Stroke affects blood flow in the brain. In most strokes, a blood vessel in the brain is blocked.
Those strokes are called ischemic strokes. Other strokes, called
bleeding or hemorrhagic strokes, happen when a blood vessel in the brain leaks
Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death for U.S. adults. It's also a leading
cause of disability.
Stroke becomes more common with age. It's relatively rare -- but still
possible -- in middle-aged or young adults.
Of the approximately 15,300 adults interviewed, only 606 said they had
been diagnosed as having had a stroke.
As expected, stroke was most common in the survey's oldest participants.
However, stroke was also reported by 2.5% of women and 1% of men aged
Why were women more than twice as likely as men in that age group to
have had a stroke? The study doesn't answer that definitively. However, women
with a history of heart disease and with larger waists were more likely to
report a stroke.
The researchers also noticed that blood pressure and total cholesterol
levels rose more steeply in women than in men aged 45-54.
Worsening blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity may partly explain why
women appeared to be more vulnerable to stroke than men in their mid 40s to mid
50s, the researchers note.