Stroke higher among young women than men

Written by | 1 Feb 2022 | Central Nervous System

The incidence of stroke incidence appears to be greater in women under 35 years-old than in men of the same age group, researchers reported on Jan. 24, 2022 in Stroke.

As background, the authors noted, “Recent evidence suggests that young women may be at higher risk of ischemic strokes than men of the same age. The goal of this systematic review is to reconcile and synthesize existing evidence of sex differences among you ng adults with ischemic strokes.

Through a database search of relevant studies, the investigators identified 16 eligible studies for the meta-analysis. The studies included a total international subject population of 69,793 young adults with stroke (33,775 women and 36,018 men).

They found that the largest difference by sex in the incidence of ischemic strokes was among subjects under 35, where 44% more women than men suffered ischemic strokes. This gap narrowed among subjects in the 35 to 45 age group.

The researchers concluded, “Traditional atherosclerotic risk factors are a major contributor to ischemic strokes in both young men and women and become increasingly important with age. However, these risk factors are less prevalent in younger women and may not account for the observed higher incidence of ischemic strokes in women younger than age 35. Young women who are survivors of ischemic stroke also have worse outcomes, with 2 to 3 times higher risk of poorer functional outcomes compared to their male counterparts.”

Co-author Sharon N. Poisson, M.D., associate professor of neurology at the University of Colorado, Denver, added, “Our finding suggests that strokes in young adults may be happening for different reasons than strokes in older adults. This emphasizes the importance of doing more studies of stroke in younger age groups so that we can better understand what puts young women at a higher risk of stroke.”

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