2006 issue 1


Volume 15, issue 1

Original article

Gender-related differences in risk factors distribution in ischaemic stroke in various age groups

Małgorzata Wiszniewska2, Adam Kobayashi1, Danuta Milewska1, Zbigniew Szych3, Anna Członkowska1
1. II Klinika Neurologii Instytutu Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
2. Oddział Neurologii Szpitala Specjalistycznego w Pile
3. Katedra i Zakład Higieny i Epidemiologii Pomorskiej Akademii Medycznej w Szczecinie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2006; 15 (1): 7-10
Keywords: stroke, risk factors, etiology of stroke


Background. Stroke is the third most common cause of death in Western Europe and the United States, and the fourth in Poland. The incidence of stroke is higher in males, increasing with age irrespective of gender.

Method. The aim of the study was to assess possible gender differences in the nature and frequency of risk factors as well as ischaemic stroke etiology in various age groups. Analysed data on 12 396 stroke patients treated in 60 neurological departments in Poland between January 1st and December 31st 2000 were obtained from the National Stroke Register database.

Results. Hypertension was the most frequent risk factor regardless ofgender and occurred in ca. 50% of the patients. Smoking was more often noted in males regardless of age (53.3% vs. 22.5% in the age group under 56years, and 15.8% vs. 1.3% in that over 80years;p<0.001). Atrial fibrillation was more frequent in women (30.7% vs. 20.2% in the age range 66-80 years, p<0.001) and its prevalence increased with age in both men and women. Cardioembolic stroke was more frequently diagnosed in women, while carotid stenosis over 70% - in men (differences statistically significant).

Conclusions. Our results indicate that hypertension was a much more pronounced risk factor for ischaemic stroke regardless of gender and age. Smoking and alcohol intake were more frequent risk factors in males, especially in younger age groups, while atrial fibrillation occurred more often in females and in older age groups. Gender differences in the prevalence of stroke risk factors should be taken into account in stroke prevention.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Małgorzata Wiszniewska
Oddział Neurologii Szpitala Specjalistycznego
ul. Rydygiera 1, 64-920 Piła
e-mail: mpwisz@pi.onet.pl