Sunday, December 24, 2006

Women are more likely to inherit stroke than men

HealthDay News: Women are at higher inherited risk for the most common type of stroke than men, a British study finds. The study of 806 men and women who suffered ischemic strokes or the minor artery blockages called transient ischemic attacks showed women were more likely to have at least one close relative who suffered a stroke, and that was due entirely to an excess of affected female relatives.

"The main implication for clinical practice is that when you consider who is at risk for stroke, it looks like family history in particular is more important in women than men, particularly if there is a family history of stroke in female relatives," said study author Dr. Peter M. Rothwell, director of the Stroke Prevention Research Unit at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford.

The study was published in the Dec. 22 online issue of The Lancet Neurology.

Ischemic strokes occur when an artery in the brain becomes blocked. They account for about 83 percent of all strokes, according to the American Stroke Association.

The new study found that women who had strokes were 40 percent more likely to have at least one close relative who suffered a stroke than were men with strokes. Having a mother who had a stroke was 80 percent more common in women stroke patients than in men.

Age was also a factor. Women whose mothers had a stroke at an early age were more likely to suffer a stroke at about the same age.

The British results support the findings of an American study reported earlier this year, said Dr. Steven J. Kittner, a researcher at the Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center and a professor of neurology at the University of Maryland.

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