Women's Stroke Rates Triple

Alarming rise linked to wider waistlines
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2008 7:41 AM CST
The rate of strokes among middle aged women has increased threefold - an ominous development attributed to an epidemic of obesity among women in their thirties and forties. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Strokes have tripled among middle-aged American women in an alarming development experts attribute to obesity. Despite the increased use of blood pressure and cholesterol medication, 2% of women aged 35 to 54 suffered a stroke between 1999 and 2004. That's a three-fold increase over earlier studies.

Women's waistlines are 2 inches larger than they were a decade earlier and women's body mass index and blood sugar levels are also rising. The bulge directly corresponds with the increase in strokes, experts warn. "We need to redefine our textbooks about strokes in women," because they now are at greater risk than middle-aged men, warned a neurologist.