A new study conducted by a team of international researchers has found women up to the age of 35 are at an increased risk of suffering ischemic stroke compared to men of the same age group. Ischemic strokes are the most common, accounting for 87% of all strokes.
In over a dozen studies that investigated gender differences in stroke, women aged 35 and below were at a 44% higher risk of having a stroke than male counterparts. According to the researchers, this analysis may help uncover the causes of stroke in younger adults.
The study surveyed 69,793 young adults with stroke from six countries to find variations in stroke occurrence. 33,775 women and 36,018 men from countries including France, the USA, Canada and the Netherlands took part.
Data from the studies carried out found a plethora of stroke types for which no known cause was identified. It was also found ischemic stroke risk increased exceptionally with age; until the gender difference narrowed among adults aged between 35 to 45-years.
Based on their analysis, 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 two to three times higher risk of poorer functional outcomes compared to their male counterparts.”
Limitations within the study
However, it is important to note the research team found some limitations of their review due to certain variables in their data. Study populations spanning different continents, including countries with varying levels of development and racial and ethnic backgrounds meant there were methodological differences.
To comprehensively understand strokes in young adults and how risk factors such as pregnancy and contraceptives influence ischemic strokes in young women, the team believe more research is required. Study co-author Sharon N. Poisson, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Colorado, Denver said:
“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.”
NRC Medical Experts provide expert witnesses and specialists in neurorehabilitation to provide court reports and clinical oversight when individuals have suffered strokes.