Having a stroke or transient ischemic attack has a much more profound effect on the quality of life of women than of men, according to a Swedish study.
Researchers at Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm asked all patients attending an outpatient clinic over a 16-month period to complete the Nottingham Health Profile, a generic quality-of-life survey used to measure subjective physical, emotional and social aspects of health.
“Stroke is a disease that can affect many aspects of a patients life,” Asa Franzen-Dahlin, RN, PhD, a nurse researcher from the hospitals Department of Internal Medicine, said in a news release. “Physical problems are easy to identify, but personality changes and cognitive decline — a reduction in the ability to think, concentrate, formulate ideas, reason and remember — are often only noticeable to those closest to the patient.”
Response rates were 50% in the stroke group and 40% in the TIA group. Older patients were more likely to complete the questionnaire and were an average of three years older than the stroke patients who did not take part and five years older than the TIA patients who did not take part.
The stroke patients (50% men) ranged in age from 34 to 93, with an average age of 73, and the TIA patients (52% men) ranged in age from 42 to 94, with an average age of 77. Average time between onset and completion of the questionnaire was eight weeks in the stroke patients and six weeks in the TIA patients.
Male stroke and TIA patients tended to be younger than female stroke and TIA patients (ages 72 vs. 75 and and 76 vs. 78 years, respectively).
Women stroke patients were significantly more affected in five of the six quality-of-life domains — emotion, sleep, energy, pain and mobility — than men. The only exception was social domain. Regarding specific problem areas, men reported more issues with sex than women (34% v 19%). Women reported more problems with housekeeping (56% vs. 36%) and in social areas (33% vs. 22%) than men.
Female TIA patients were significantly more affected in all quality-of-life domains than male TIA patients. Regarding specific problem areas, women had more issues with housekeeping (48% vs. 20%), social (33% vs. 8%), family (13% vs. 0%) and leisure-time areas (42% vs. 23%).
Male stroke patients were significantly more affected in certain domains (including the emotional, energy and social domains) than male TIA patients, while female stroke and TIA patients did not have significant differences.
The study “shows that female TIA patients are as badly affected when it comes to quality of life as female stroke patients and need the same level of support after they are discharged from the hospital,” Franzen-Dahlin said.
The study appears in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing. To read the abstract and access the study via subscription or purchase, visit http://bit.ly/Oi3KHu.