PEI

More women dying from strokes than men: Report

In Canada, more women than men are dying as a result of a stroke and they're living with worse outcomes as they recover, according to a report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

'There's been a dearth of research on women and we need to change that'

Research shows at different stages of life women are at higher risk of having a stroke. (David Donnelly/CBC)

In Canada, more women than men are dying as a result of a stroke and they're living with more challenges as they recover, according to a report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The 2018 Stroke Report was released Tuesday and shows women suffer from the effects of stroke "disproportionately" to men, said Charlotte Comrie with Heart and Stroke Foundation of P.E.I.

"If you were to say there were 100 deaths from stroke, women account for almost 60 per cent of them," she said.

"So it's an unusual situation where the research has been primarily male and yet … women have a higher percentage of deaths, women have a higher degree of disability and women have poorer outcomes."

70 per cent of women do not know what the risk factors of stroke are.— Charlotte Comrie

In the past, roughly 66 per cent of all research subjects were men, Comrie said, and it was believed the research would render the same results for women.

"It's only in the recent past that we've learned that that's not the case," Comrie said. "And so there's been a dearth of research on women and we need to change that, without of course lessening the very positive impacts of research on men."

'It's an unusual situation where the research has been primarily male and yet … women have a higher percentage of deaths, women have a higher degree of disability and women have poorer outcomes,' says Charlotte Comrie. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Women 'under-aware' of dangers

Raising awareness is a particular focus of the report. Comrie said many women are currently "under-aware" of the danger of strokes, but hopes the report will help change that.

"70 per cent of women do not know what the risk factors of stroke are and fewer than 36 per cent can name the three signs of stroke," she said.

Here are some of the findings in the 2018 Stroke Report: 

  • One third more women die of stroke than men in Canada.
  • More than half of people in Canada living with the effects of stroke are women.
  • Women are 60 per cent less likely to regain their independence.
  • Less than half of stroke patients participating in rehabilitation are women.
  • Women are less likely to return home after a stroke.
  • Twice as many women as men end up in long-term care facilities after a stroke.
  • There is a higher risk of marriage break up if it's the woman who has the stroke.

Research also showed that women are at higher risk at key stages in their lives. Strokes in women during pregnancy are roughly three times higher than in non-pregnant women of similar age.

As well, stroke risk increases after menopause particularly among elderly women who suffer "the most severe strokes" and the "poorest outcomes," the report said.

To raise awareness around strokes as well as brain and heart health, the foundation has started a campaign called #TimeToSeeRed.

Learn more about the campaign at the Heart and Stroke Foundation's website

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With files from Island Morning

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