Women have worse quality of life after stroke than men

Women have a significantly poorer quality of life after a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) than men, a study suggests.

Stroke: women's quality of life affected more than men's (Photo: Science Photo Library)
Stroke: women's quality of life affected more than men's (Photo: Science Photo Library)

Researchers from Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm, analysed data from 379 stroke patients and 117 patients with TIA who had completed a questionnaire between 6 and 8 weeks after their stroke or TIA.

Quality of life was measured by assessing how severely certain aspects of patients' lives had been affected by their stroke or TIA, such as physical mobility, social activites and sexual life.

After a stroke, women were significantly more negatively affected than men with the same diagnosis in all the quality of life domains, except problems with their sexual life.

Female TIA patients were significantly more negatively affected in all quality of life domains than male TIA patients, particularly in housekeeping, social and leisure activities.

The researchers were surprised to find that there was no significant difference on quality of life scores between women who had suffered a stroke and those who had suffered a TIA.

Dr Ann Charlotte Laska, one of the researchers behind the study, said: ‘Our research shows that female TIA patients are as badly affected when it comes to quality of life as female stroke patients and need the same level of support when they are discharged from hospital.’

The researchers argue that special attention needs to be directed towards the social situation of female stroke and TIA patients, as they experience more problems with work, housekeeping and holidays than male patients.

Problems related to sexual life were more common in male patients, and such issues should be discussed at the patient’s follow-up visit, the researchers said.

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