Stroke rates dropped for men, not women

From 1993 to 2010, stroke rates dropped for men who participated in a new study, but women's remained the same.

Between 1993 and 2010, men showed considerable improvement in their stroke risk, but women did not show a statistically significant drop, report researchers.

“For decades, women had a lower overall stroke rate than men, but now men appear to be approaching similar rates…”

In the paper in the journal Neurology, Tracy Madsen, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, and colleagues analyzed data on strokes occurring in a population of 1.3 million people age 20 or older living in a five-county area of southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky.

For men, the rate dropped from 263 strokes per 100,000 to 192 per 100,000 over the study period. Among women, the rate decreased from 217 strokes per 100,000 to 198 per 100,000, which is not a statistically significant difference.

In an American Academy of Neurology news story about the study, Madsen says the data do not explain why men have shown such improvement while women have not.

“For decades, women had a lower overall stroke rate than men, but now men appear to be approaching similar rates; while that is a good thing, it leaves one to wonder why women’s rates are not going down as well,” Madsen says. “At the end of our study, stroke rates for men and women were nearly the same.

“The overall decrease in stroke is clearly driven by men having fewer strokes caused by lack of blood flow to the brain resulting from blocked arteries or clots,” Madsen adds. “What is not clear is why stroke rates for women remained stable while the rates for men decreased.”

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke supported the work.

Source: Brown University

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