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Stroke more damaging to women's life quality than men's

Having a stroke or transient ischemic attack has a much more profound effect on the quality of life of women than men, according to nurse researchers at Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm.

They said their findings indicated that “female patients with both stroke and TIA need more attention concerning their life situation” than men.

The researchers surveyed 379 stroke and 117 TIA outpatients who attended a clinic over 16 months. Female stroke patients were significantly more affected than men in five of six areas - emotion, sleep, energy, pain and mobility.

The exception was social interaction.

Female TIA patients were also significantly more affected in all six quality of life areas than male TIA patients.

Study co-author Ann Charlotte Laska said: “Our study shows that female stroke patients are more affected than male stroke patients when it comes to quality of life.

“It also 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 after they are discharged from hospital.”

The stroke patients ranged from 34 to 93 years, with an average age of 73, and the TIA patients ranged from 42 to 94 years, with an average age of 77.

Quality of life was measured using the Nottingham Health Profile, a generic quality of life survey used to measure subjective physical, emotional and social aspects of health.

Study co-author and nurse Asa Franzen-Dahlin added: “Stroke is a disease that can affect many aspects of a patient’s life.

“Physical problems are easy to identify, but personality changes and cognitive decline - a reduction in the ability to think, concentrate, formulate ideas, reason and remember - are often only noticeable to those closest to the patient.”

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