"As more people survive strokes, physicians and other health care providers should pay attention to quality-of-life issues and work to develop better interventions, even gender-specific screening tools, to improve these patients' lives," study senior author Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, an associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, said in a center news release.
For the study, published online recently in the journal Neurology, researchers looked at 1,370 adults, aged 56 to 77, who survived a stroke or mini-stroke. The patients were assessed three months and one year later.
At three months, women were more likely than men to have mobility problems, pain and discomfort, as well as anxiety and depression. At one year, women still had poorer overall quality of life than men, but the difference was not as large as at three months, the investigators found.
"We found that age, race and marital status accounted for the biggest differences between men and women at three months, with marital status being the most important," Bushnell said. "Even though the women in the study were older than the men, our study showed that age really had very little effect on quality of life."
She added that the findings show the need for further research to determine how to improve the lives of female stroke survivors.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about rehabilitation after a stroke.