Women Fare Worse Than Men After a Stroke

By Amy Norton

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 8, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Women tend to have a tougher time recovering from a stroke than men do, though the reasons aren’t completely clear, researchers say.

On average, female stroke survivors reported more limitations in their day-to-day activities than male survivors did, according to a review of 22 studies. Female survivors also were more likely to develop depression after their stroke and rate their health-related quality of life as low.

As for why, the researchers point to some possible explanations. Women tend to be older and in poorer health when they suffer a stroke, compared with men. Also, strokes in women are typically more severe.

But those differences only partly explained the findings, said senior researcher Lynda Lisabeth.

“There are other things going on here that we just don’t understand yet,” said Lisabeth, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, in Ann Arbor.

One possibility, she said, is that “social factors” are at work. Compared with men, women who have a stroke are more likely to live alone and be otherwise socially isolated.

When they have a stroke, there may be no one around to recognize it and call 911, Lisabeth said. After the stroke, they may lack help at home, or someone to get them to doctor appointments and rehabilitation therapy sessions.

Beyond that, elderly women may be worse off financially than elderly men, the researchers suggested. From studies so far, though, it’s not clear whether that plays a role in women’s poorer stroke recovery.

Lisabeth said more research is needed to better understand what’s going on.

If social isolation, for example, is part of the problem, there could be ways to change that, she said. For instance, technology could be used to connect stroke survivors with health professionals or other women going through the same thing.

Dr. Marc Fisher is a neurologist and editor of the journal Stroke, which published the findings online Thursday.

Fisher said the results bring to light some important issues — including the fact that women may be particularly vulnerable to depression after a stroke. Across the studies, women were up to three times more likely to suffer depression than men were.

Article source: https://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20180208/women-fare-worse-than-men-after-a-stroke?src=RSS_PUBLIC

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