08 February 2014

Men Lead A Better Quality Of Life After A Stroke Than Women

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center find that men lead a better quality of life than women after have a stroke. Three months after suffering a stroke, the study shows that women were more likely than men to report problems with mobility, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression.

According to the American Heart Association. women face higher risk of stroke than men with 1 out of 5 women experiencing a stroke sometime in her life. They also note that 55,000 more women than men suffer from a stroke each year. It is the 3rd cause of death for women while it is the 4th for men.

A stroke is a condition when blood to the brain is cut off. Because of this, the brain is deprived of oxygen and immediately starts to deteriorate. Stroke victims suffer physical impairment, mood and behavioral swings, and bouts of depression afterwards. Rehabilitation is a long journey for stroke victims

Quality of life refers to the well being of a person. With regards to healthcare, it includes the physical and mental health perceptions, functional status, social support, and socioeconomic status.

Gender and Quality of Life

The good news: More people survive stroke now than 10 years ago due to improved treatment and prevention.

The bad news: Women who survive stroke have a worse quality of life than men, according to a study published in the Feb. 7 online issue of the journal Neurology.

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center compared the quality of life in men and women who had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). A total of 1,370 patients ages 56 to 77 from the AVAIL registry – a national, multicenter, longitudinal registry of ischemic stroke and TIA patients – were included in the study.

The patients' quality of life was measured at three months and one year after a stroke or TIA using a formula that assesses mobility, self-care, everyday activities, depression/anxiety and pain.

"We found that women had a worse quality of life than men up to 12 months following a stroke, even after considering differences in important sociodemographic variables, stroke severity and disability," said Cheryl Bushnell, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and senior author of the study.

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"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."

The study findings showed that at three months, women were more likely than men to report problems with mobility, pain/discomfort and anxiety and depression, but the difference 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, Bushnell said.

"The reason we do these types of studies is to be able to add different variables sequentially to determine what accounts for these gender differences," Bushnell said. "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. Even though the women in the study were older than the men, our study showed that age really had very little effect on quality of life."

The results suggest that further research on mobility, pain or discomfort and anxiety/depression may provide a clearer understanding for how to improve the lives of women after stroke, Bushnell added. The next step for the Wake Forest Baptist team will be to look at the trajectory of cognitive decline in men and women before and after stroke, she said.


Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
American Heart Association
American Heart Association Releases 2014 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistical Update
Stroke Victims Can Improve Cognitive Ability By 50% Through Physical Exercise In Six Months
New Device Brings Higher Level Of Recovery Time in Movement For Stroke Patients
Being Aware and Preventing Heart Disease: An Infographic From The American Heart Association
Transcendental Meditation Increases Survival Rate in Heart Patients And Reduces Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack
Flavonoids in Citrus Fruits Lowers Stroke Risk
Post Stroke Depression Increases Risk of Death By A Factor of Three
Impairments in Brain Involved in Post Stroke Depression (PSD)
Aspirin Lowers Risk in Trans Fat Related Strokes