HealthDay News — For young adults (aged 35 years or younger), the incidence of ischemic stroke is higher among women than men, according to a review published in the February issue of Stroke.

Michelle H. Leppert, M.D., from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to reconcile and synthesize existing evidence of sex differences among young adults with ischemic strokes. Nineteen studies that reported on sex-specific stroke incidence among young adults were identified, three of which reported overlapping data.

The researchers found that in nine studies, there was no statistically significant sex difference for young adults aged 45 years and younger. Higher rates of ischemic stroke were seen among men in three studies involving young adults aged 30 to 35 years. In four studies with young adults aged 35 years and younger, there were more women with ischemic stroke. The estimated effect size favored more ischemic strokes in women overall in young adults aged 35 years and younger (incidence rate ratio, 1.44; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.18 to 1.76); a nonsignificant sex difference was seen for young adults aged 35 to 45 years (incidence rate ratio, 1.08; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.85 to 1.38).


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“Sex differences among young adults with ischemic stroke is a problem that demands attention,” the authors write. “More research is needed to better define the etiological sex differences of ischemic stroke in young adults and the contributions that nontraditional risk factors, such as pregnancy, postpartum, and hormonal contraceptives, play in the overall burden of ischemic strokes in young women.”

One author disclosed financial ties to Bristol Myers Squibb.

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