Mid-Life Stroke More Common in Women than Men

by Teri Robert, MyMigraineConnection Lead Expert

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Many Migraineurs have become aware that having Migraine disease increases our risk of stroke. In women with Migraine, there is an average of 2.16 times greater risk of stroke. An increase in cardiovascular events, including stroke, in men with Migraine has also been established. A new study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, provides more incentive for female Migraineurs to manage their Migraine disease and stoke risk factors.

According to a study published June 20, 2007, in the online edition of Neurology®, more women than men appear to be having a stroke in middle age. Researchers say heart disease and increased waist size may be contributing to this apparent mid-life stroke surge among women.

Study Objective:

This study had a twofold objective:

  1. To assess gender differences in stroke prevalence rates in midlife years and to identify potentially determining factors that influence these differences.
  2. To assess stroke and other vascular risk factor rates across successive decades of midlife years in both genders and determine independent predictors of stroke.

Study Methods:

Data analyzed was collected from 1999 - 2004 from 17,061 people over the age of 18 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which was conduced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The data was analyzed to assess gender differences in stroke prevalence and to identify independent predictors of stroke occurrence among middle-aged men and women.

Study Results:

  • Of the 17,061 participants, 606 people experienced a stroke.
  • Women in the 45 to 54 age range were more than twice as likely as men in the same age group to have had a stroke.
  • There were no gender differences in stroke rates in the 35 to 44 and the 55 to 64 age groups.

Study Conclusion:

“A higher prevalence of stroke may exist among women aged 45 to 54 years compared

with similarly aged men. This potential disparity could be due in part to inadequate stroke

risk factor modification in women and is deserving of further study.”

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