Risks

Women Between 45 and 54 Have Double the Risk of Stroke than Men

Deanne Stein Health Guide July 30, 2007
  • My waistline is gone. It's all part of being pregnant. I understand this, but it's hard to see my body balloon out bigger and bigger each week. I know there is no way around it, and it is quite amazing when I think about it. There is actually a little person in there growing. So, it's not really me, it's my baby girl inside. Although, I'll still have my work cut out for me after she's born, when I have to lose all the excess weight I've gained. So far, I've only gained 24 pounds, which my doctor says is normal for my size.

     

    I've never been one to watch my weight. I've been real lucky with genetics I guess. So, needless to say, I never knew what my body size was in inches. I never worried about it because I was my ideal size and weight. But apparently it's something we should all be aware of, especially women over 45. That's because researchers at UCLA say this one group of women may be facing a significantly higher risk of stroke than their male counterparts.

     

    As part of a recent study, these researchers followed 17,000 people and found women between 45 and 54 years of age had double the risk of stroke than men of the same age group. However, the risk was similar for men and women in other age groups. Some doctors say it's not clear as to why women over 45 are more at risk. Some factors could be female hormones and menopause, but experts actually believe weight and body type are the major factors.

     

    For some reason, as we reach menopause, our body shape can change. One doctor said nature is determined to turn all of us into apples. Women who are shaped like this carry most of their weight around the middle. Doctors say this is a problem because belly fat has been linked to higher cholesterol and blood pressure, which are both risk factors for stroke.

     

    While losing weight will help you lose waist size, doctors say don't concentrate on the pounds or the scale. Instead get out the tape measure and lose inches. The average woman's waist should be less than 32 inches. Of course, check with your doctor to determine what size is right and healthy for you. This study was published in the journal Neurology.