Every 40 seconds a stroke occurs in the United States. Many people believe that men have more strokes than women, but in point of fact, women have more strokes than men, primarily because women live longer.
Mortality statistics by age, race, and gender
Age-specific stroke incidence and mortality rates are higher in men than women, except in the oldest age category. Between the years of 1999 and 2004, stroke mortality rates were as follows:
- Below age 45, stroke mortality between men and women is similar
- Between 45 and 74 years, black women have 25-35% lower mortality than black men; white women have 20% lower mortality than white men
- Between 75 and 84 years, black women have approximately 15% lower mortality than black men; white women have approximately 10% lower mortality than white men
- Age 85 years and older, black women have a 12% increased mortality than black men; white women have a 14% increased mortality than white men
The balance may still look to be in women’s favor, however, there are significantly more women in the older age range, greatly skewing the mortality rate for women in comparison to men. At the age of 50, there are approximately an equal number of men and women in the U.S. But this begins to change dramatically in senior adults:
- There are 119 women for every 100 men at age 70
- There are 156 women for every 100 men at age 80
- There are 270 women for every 100 men at age 90
With the increase in age comes more numerous comorbidities that increase the risk of death or severe disability from stroke, thus women tend to have a higher death and disability rate than men, overall.
Why more men in their prime have strokes and die
Many studies have been done around the world to determine how various risk factors affect the likelihood of stroke at different ages. Most seem to point to the tendency for men to be more likely to smoke, consume heavy amounts of alcohol, and have earlier onset of midriff obesity and metabolic syndrome than women. There is also some evidence that estrogen may protect blood vessel integrity while testosterone may have the opposite effect.
These factors may also explain why older women have more strokes than older men; because of lower estrogen in post-menopausal women, they eventually lose their blood vessel protection, while lower testosterone in older men may offer them some protection. In addition, senior women, being much older, see an increased onset of diabetes, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation (heart palpitations), which are all stroke factors. Women also tend to be less aware of female-specific stroke signs, thus missing early warning signs before the full onset of stroke. In addition, older women are more likely to live alone and be marginalized.
Some studies show that older women are less likely to be given proper medications to control risk factors, and various studies show that women stroke patients are less likely to receive all the in-hospital procedures that men do and are more likely to be released without medications that men may be prescribed.
Taking precautions against stroke
While studies are still being done and there are differences across communities, all evidence points to a handful of risk factors that increase the likelihood of stroke. We have no control over our age, gender, race, or natural decline of hormone levels. But there are many risk factors of stroke that we can control. These risk factors should be mitigated as much as possible, regardless of age, gender, or race.
At Neuralert, we are committed to decreasing the pain and suffering associated with stroke. Early stroke treatment saves lives and can often prevent or limit long-term side effects. Our state-of-the-art, AI-driven stroke-detection wristbands look like a smartwatch and can detect warning signs of a stroke within minutes. Ask your doctor about adding Neuralert’s stroke-detecting wristband technology to your overall stroke prevention plan.