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Stroke Smart Magazine

July/August 2008

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Walking Speed: A Predictor of Stroke Risk?

Researchers believe that walking speed may be used to predict risk for stroke among older women. Of the 13,000 postmenopausal women in a recent study, those with the slowest walking speeds were 69 percent more likely to have a stroke. Researchers excluded women with specific health problems that may have slowed their pace.

Scientists consider walking speed to be a good indicator of a person’s overall ability to function physically. And while a slower walking speed was linked to stroke risk in this study, more research is needed before we can understand the true relationship between a person’s walking pace, stroke risk and overall physical health.


Wealth Decreases Risk for Stroke

Researchers have found that lower wealth, education and income can increase stroke risk. This new study found that common risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking, were higher in the group with lower wealth, income and education but only among those who were 50 to 64 years of age. After the age of 65, stroke risk was not different for the two wealth groups of men or women. The stroke risk study included nearly 20,000 Americans.



Cesarean Section May Increase Risk for Stroke

Researchers in Taiwan have discovered a link between a cesarean delivery and stroke. The report from Tapei Medical University states that women who have a c-section are more likely to have a stroke in the year following the birth. The study included a total of 987,010 births from 1998 to 2002. At three, six and 12 months after birth, the stroke rates were 67 percent, 61 percent and 49 percent higher, respectively.



Plaque Buildup in Arteries Can Increase Risk for Stroke in Hispanics

The American Academy of Neurology has published a study which indicates a higher stroke risk for Hispanics with plaque buildup in their carotid (neck) artery than for Hispanics without such buildup. In the study, Hispanics with this artery plaque were at a four-times higher risk for stroke. More than 2,000 Hispanic men and women were examined in the study.



Extended Fasting May Increase Type of Rare Stroke

More than one billion Muslims fasting during the month of Ramadan (in 2008, September 1 September 30) may be at risk for a rare type of stroke. Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is a kind of stroke that mostly affects young adults, children and women. The study sampled 162 people, all admitted to the hospital in Iran over a five-year period for CVST strokes. Of the sample, 33 had strokes while fasting and 129 had strokes at other times of the year. The study found that the month of Ramadan averaged 5.5 strokes compared to 2.0 for the rest of the year.



Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy May Increase Stroke

Researchers have published a study which states that postmenopausal women taking hormone therapy may have an increased risk for stroke. The study was coordinated between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The study’s sample included 121,700 women aged 30 to 55 at the beginning of the study. Conducted from 1976 to 2004, the study showed a 39-percent increase in stroke for those women taking estrogen and a 27-percent increase for those taking estrogen with progestin.





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National Stroke Association’s mission is to reduce the incidence and impact of stroke by developing compelling education and programs focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and support for all impacted by stroke.

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