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Female stroke survivors have a worse standard of living than men

Female stroke survivors have a worse standard of living than men
11th February 2014

A stroke is more likely to have a detrimental effect on the lifestyle of women than men, a new US study claims.

Researchers at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts, compared the quality of life of 1,370 people and found that male survivors typically had less problems with pain, anxiety and mobility.

The largest lifestyle differences were observed in those aged over 75.

Cheryl Busnell,  the center's associate professor of neurology, said that even after taking into consideration "sociodemographic variables", women were found to have a worse quality of life for up to 12 months after suffering a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

"As more people survive strokes, physicians and other healthcare providers should pay attention to quality of life issues and work to develop better interventions, even gender-specific screening tools, to improve these patients' lives," she added.

The study found that a person's marital status had the biggest bearing on life quality for stoke patients.

Dr Madina Kara, a neuroscientist at the UK Stroke Association, said that while the reasons for women faring worse than men are unclear, one factor could be older ladies (those over 65) are more likely to live alone.

She also pointed out that women tend to have strokes later in life, meaning their chances of recovery are significantly reduced.

"What this study highlights is that women may not be getting the support they need to improve their quality of life after stroke," Dr Kara told the BBC.

"It is essential that all stroke survivors receive the best care and support from health and social services to make their best possible recovery."

Last year, Jackie Ashley, a columnist for the Guardian and wife of BBC political journalist Andrew Marr criticised the level of support offered stroke patients after they have been discharged from hospital.

Marr had a stroke in January 2013 and while the care he received from doctors and nurses was appreciated, Ms Ashley felt her husband should have received more than one visit a week from a specialist after he returned home.

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