10 May 2012
Women who are diagnosed with an irregular heart beat in their older years are more likely to suffer a stroke than men with the health problem.
This is according to a new study by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC), which looked at the effects of the common anticoagulant therapy warfarin across genders.
Warfarin is frequently used to reduce the risk of people with atrial fibrillation (AF) from suffering a stroke due to their condition.
However, the research team has acknowledged that this treatment may not be as effective in women aged 75 years old or over than what it is in men.
Dr Louise Pilote, a researcher in epidemiology at the RI MUHC and a corresponding author for the study, commented: "Our results suggest that elderly women with AF may need to be targeted for more effective stroke prevention therapy.
"Knowing the stroke risk is higher in women is something that both physicians and patients should be focusing on."
Around 150,000 people suffer from stroke in the UK each year, according to the Stroke Association.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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