According to a new research conducted, women who are obese or overweight may be more likely to have the most common kind of stroke which is called ischemic stroke but will be less likely to be a victim of a more often deadly stroke, called hemorrhagic stroke. The study was published in the September 7, 2016 online issue o Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Stroke is universally known to be fatal. It is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide and the fifth leading cause of death in the United States.
“We found that the risk of ischemic stroke, which is associated with a blockage of blood flow to the brain and is the most common stroke sub-type, is increased in overweight and obese women. By contrast, the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, which is associated with bleeding into the brain, is decreased in overweight and obese women,” said study author Gillian Reeves, PhD, with the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. “Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that different types of stroke have different risk profiles.”
According to Kathryn Rexrode, MD, MPH, with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who wrote an accompanying editorial, the lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke did not mean that overweight and obese women had a lower risk of stroke overall. “Higher body mass index, or BMI, was associated with increased risk of total stroke in every category and the number of ischemic strokes was higher than the number of hemorrhagic stroke in every category. So higher BMI was not associated with protection or reduced risk of total stroke,” she said. “Obesity is a substantial stroke risk factor for all ages and even more alarming for young adults.”
The study was conducted with 1.3 million women participants in the United Kingdom with the average age of 57. They were followed for twelve years and during that time, 20,549 had a stroke. Among the 344,534 women with a healthy weight (BMI between 22.5 and 25), 0.7 percent (2,253) had an ischemic stroke and 0.5 percent (1,583) had a hemorrhagic stroke. Of the 228,274 obese women (BMI 30 or more), 1.0 percent (2,393) had an ischemic stroke and 0.4 percent (910) had a hemorrhagic stroke.
The risk of ischemic stroke increased by twenty one percent for every five unit increase in BMI and for hemorrhagic stroke, every five unit increase in BMI was connected with a twelve percent decrease in risk.
The researchers also used results from previously published studies and the totality of the worldwide findings proved that obese or overweight women are more likely to have ischemic stroke than hemorrhagic stroke.