Researchers analyzed two national surveys of middle-aged women conducted ten years apart. They found that more women reported stroke in the more recent survey, despite the fact that they were more likely to use medications to control stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
he key finding?? These women were significantly more overweight and had larger average waist circumferences and higher average blood sugar levels than women in the survey a decade earlier.
Lead researcher Dr. Amytis Towfighi, M.D., an assistant professor in the Neurology Department at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles says, "we were surprised because we thought that other factors such as diabetes high cholesterol and high blood pressure would be playing a role in this increased stroke risk in women. and the only factor that was playing a role was abdominal obesity, and obesity in general."
Abdominal obesity is a known predictor of stroke in women and is associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for heart diseases and diabetes. The study suggest abdominal fat may be a key item in the recent increase in stroke among middle-aged women.
According to Dr. Towfighi, " a lot of people think that since they're taking medications to control their diabetes or their cholesterol, that they're lowering their risk for stroke. However, if they're not losing weight, they're still at an increased risk for stroke."
Doctor Towfighi says it's important that people know stroke can occur at any age and her study showed the need to lose weight sooner rather than later. You also need to control high blood pressure, not smoke and treat disorders that increase your risk of stroke such as irregular heart beat and heart failure.
To find out your risk of heart disease and stroke log onto www.goredforwomen.org .