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Greater Risk Around the Middle

Greater Risk Around the Middle

The new alarming health trend of women at greater risk of suffering stroke has many people in the medical community very worried. A recent federal report from the National Health and Nutrition Survey reveals that the rate of strokes among middle-aged women has tripled in the last few years.

The survey results indicate that almost 2 percent of women age 35 to 54 reported suffering a stroke between 1999 and 2004. This is up from only a half a percent reported from the years 1988 to 1994. Another interesting aspect the survey revealed was that the male rate stayed the same at 1 percent in both surveys.

Most people who suffer strokes are in an older age group, but this spike in younger stroke victims is a very serious problem. Even though more women in the 1999 ? 2004 were taking medicines to lower cholesterol than those in previous they still reported 3 times as many incidences of stroke than before.

Dr. Amytis Towfighi, a neurology specialist at the University of Southern California, conducted a study to figure out what it was that changed in women over the last few years that would warrant such a drastic increase in strokes.

The study found that the traditional risk factors of smoking, heart disease or diabetes had not changed between the two surveys. The one thing that did stand out as a significant change was the increase of belly fat.

The amount of women who had abdominal obesity rose from 47 percent in the earlier survey to 59 percent in the latest. The change in belly fat was smaller for men in the survey. The new reports have doctors calling to re-examine the textbook idea that men are at a greater risk of stroke during middle age as these new numbers say the opposite.

What do you think of the latest research showing women are suffering strokes at a much higher rate than just a few years ago?

What do you think can be done to lower this rate?

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  • cvarano By cvarano
    03.29.08  

    I just don't know. The obvious answer is exercise regularly but with a society that overeats, drives everywhere (even to the gym within walking distance), and exercises and diets mostly on a yo yo basis it's hard to change these routines. Also more women are working and raising children which means double the stress.

  • kirstensapphire By kirstensapphire
    03.31.08  

    I think education is key. Women should know the tell tale signs of strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. Women obviously need to take preventative steps to avoid getting strokes, such as exercise, eating healthier, and quitting smoking. I think if women took healthier steps in their lives their would be less cardiovascular diseases, as well as others, such as cancer. The most obvious culprit is the "American Lifestyle". I think people need to start changing their habits and start educating themselves, because it's probably the only way to save thousands of lives a year.

  • butterflytouch By butterflytouch
    04.02.08  

    Just something else to be worried about!

  • mommy2twogirls By mommy2twogirls
    04.03.08  

    I agree with kristensapphire, and I should be taking that advise myself, the only real way to change things is getting educated about lifestyles and then doing something about it. Stop procrastinating. I'm guilty of that one too. I know what I should be doing, I just put off starting to change my habits.

  • Karolyn By Karolyn
    04.03.08  

    I think that we already have the education to make a change. For me, the problem is that my high-stress lifestyle is leading to increased health risks. I agree with what the previous poster said: "Stop Procrastinating" that includes me! =)

  • doublej By doublej
    04.06.08  

    I had a Stroke when I was 35 years old.I was not overweight, no high blood pressure,no heart disease.I was tested and retested and scanned and rescanned in three different hospitals;but the doctors could not tell me why I had a stroke.I lost partial use of my left side,but I am one of the lucky ones that was able to recover and can still work and carry on a normal life. I can tell a big difference in the way that I feel and am able to function better when I do follow a healthier regimen of diet and exercise.Stress management is also a big factor in the way I am able to do things. Yes,education is vital to all women in being able to recognize symptoms of any disease,but most of us ignore symptoms and try to keep going at the risk of our own health to take care of our families.

  • touchedbyaangel By touchedbyaangel
    04.12.08  

    Bless your heart! That was so young! Did you have any warning signs ?

  • linda_answer By linda_answer
    04.14.08  

    I think having a good doctor is a big help. Many doctors still see men as having more heart risk than women. I had a good doctor that did something about my blood pressure when I was 37. I was not oveweight, and otherwise very healthy. He got me on meds and my blood pressure is still good to this day, and I am now a healthy 51. Now I am a little heavier but still in a healthy range although the middle is the hardest place to lose weight! My doctor retired a few years ago and my new one is fantastic too. He has me take an aspirin everyday when I wake up in the morning. He is very heart conscious with me and is pleased with my blood pressure readings for the most part My hubby is a former nurse and takes my blood pressure once a week so if I see a spike in the readings I can call my doctor. So far so good.... My doctor thinks it is my family history more than anything. My Dad was always the perfect weight and still had high blood pressure. He lived to the ripe age of 90. My poor Mom had breast cancer but what killed her was a fatal stroke at the age of 48. The key is education, a willingness to take care of onesslf, and having a GP who is very aware of women's risk. Thank God for the internet. Some of our parents and grandparents did not have that and if they didnt read about things like that, they were left uninformed. But when it is all said and done, no matter how good of a doctor you have and what info there is out there. we have to take the initiative to take of ourselves. I was only 8 when I lost my Mom from a stroke so I know first hand how a stroke can change a family forever. Be heart healthy!

  • OtterKim By OtterKim
    04.14.08  

    I am very concerned about my heart health. My father died 2 years ago, so my risk factors are higher than normal. I go in cycles where I get very concerned, and then I start to slack off again when under stress, etc. At least I am aware...

  • Tracee By Tracee
    04.15.08  

    This is very concerning, we all have to watch out for warnings.

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