Stroke Risk in Women Needs More Research

Reasons why more stroke deaths occur in women poorly understood
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Women account for the majority of stroke deaths in the United States, yet there are major gaps in awareness of risk factors specific to women, and in the knowledge of the causes and treatment of strokes in women, according to several reports published a special themed issue of Stroke released online Feb. 10 and dedicated to the epidemic of stroke among women.

Among the key findings presented in the issue are that the overall quality of care for women who have had a stroke is lower than that for men. The characteristics of male and female stroke patients also differ, according to one study, with women more likely to be older and be worse affected by stroke, and to have higher incidence of hypertension and atrial fibrillation compared to men.

Other research highlighted that emergency department waiting times differ among genders, and there is currently a lack of strong evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of stroke during early pregnancy.

"Projections indicate that the prevalence and incidence of stroke will increase by 2020 in both genders, but that these figures are magnified in women," Tobias Kurth, M.D., and Marie-Germaine Bousser, M.D., write in an accompanying editorial. "By 2050, mortality from stroke will be 30 percent higher in women than men."

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