World Stroke Day 2020: How understanding difference in cerebrovascular events between genders can improve treatment and care
A study published in Lancet Neurology in 2008 showed that although age-specific stroke incidence and mortality rates are higher among men, stroke has a much greater effect on women
World Stroke Day is observed on 29 October every year to spread awareness about stroke incidence, prevalence and mortality across the world. The theme for World Stroke Day 2020 is “Join the MoveMent” and it emphasizes the importance of physical activity and exercise in preventing strokes. Apart from active exercise, a recent study proved that even passive stretching can help reduce stroke risks. There are also a number of other ways to reduce stroke risk.
The need to recognise gender differences in strokes
What many people fail to realize is that stroke poses different risks, presents with different symptoms and has very different implications in the short as well as the long term among men and women. A study published in Lancet Neurology in 2008 showed that although age-specific stroke incidence and mortality rates are higher among men, stroke has a much greater effect on women because they live longer lives and stroke risks increase substantially in the oldest age groups.
What’s more, stroke-related outcomes like disability and quality of life are consistently and globally poorer in women. In many countries, elderly women tend to live alone and may be socially isolated, which leads to the risk of poor outcomes being multiplied. With a growing population of the aged in the coming decades, experts believe this gender disparity in stroke outcomes may only increase without proper intervention.
Sex disparity in stroke risks
A 2012 study in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism explains that the stroke risk factor profiles between men and women vary in a number of ways. They point out that atrial fibrillation and hypertension occur more often in female stroke patients. Sex hormone-related factors are also associated with stroke risks. The use of oral contraceptives and the hormonal upheavals that occur during multiple pregnancies, postpartum, peri- and post-menopausal periods increase stroke risks.
Moreover, menopause is associated with weight gain, metabolic syndrome, higher blood pressure and other common risk factors for stroke. This puts not only menopausal women at a higher risk, but also exacerbates said risks for women who have symptoms of early menopause due to cigarette smoking or poor nutritional quality due to low socioeconomic status. The study also points out that women with type 2 diabetes have a higher stroke risk as well.
Symptoms and treatment differences
In a study published in 2016 in the journal Vascular Medicine, researchers reveal that although studies regarding stroke symptom differences between men and women are limited and sparse, the available data indicates that women not only have more generalized symptoms but also tend to have non-traditional signs of a stroke. Women more often have symptoms like disorientation, generalized weakness, mental status change, headache, pain, altered consciousness, and some women have also been found to present with urinary incontinence, visual problems and dysphasia.
These differences in symptoms are relevant and need to be better identified because they not only affect the diagnosis of a stroke on time but can also impact treatment methods and the type of care medical professionals choose to provide female stroke patients with. If diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care are not tailored keeping the gendered risk factors and symptoms in mind, then it’s highly likely that women who suffer strokes will continue to have poorer health outcomes.
More research is needed to establish these gender differences in stroke cases to provide better treatment and prevention options to patients and those at risk. What’s also needed is better awareness about strokes, especially how it shows up in and affects women rather differently than men.
For more information, read our article on Stroke Prevention.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Blocked nose, full set of teeth among risk factors of COVID-19 patient becoming a superspreader, suggests study
The term is used to describe infected individuals who can spread the virus to several people and drive disease outbreaks. The basic reproduction number of COVID-19 is estimated to be about three, which means a contagious person can potentially infect three healthy people
Modifiable risk factors in first 1,000 days since conception may decide chances of childhood obesity, reveals study
A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that the first 1,000 days of life, which means from the time of conception to the age of 24 months, make for the most crucial time period when it comes to childhood obesity
Antibody development and neutralisation of the virus have been suggested to be some of the deciding factors that predict the outcomes of COVID-19. As a result, several studies have been conducted in the past few months to determine whether humans produce a robust immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of novel coronavirus disease.