Being overweight has been found to be associated with a higher stroke risk in women. More specifically, carrying around excess weight increases the risk of experiencing the most common type of stroke. On the upside, those extra pounds also mean lower risk of a less common type of stroke.
Dr. Richard Libman, who reviewed the findings, said, “While the results of this study may appear contradictory or somewhat confusing, the take-home message is that overall, obesity causes more harm than good.”
The study looked at 1.3 million British women and found that overweight and obese women were more likely to suffer from ischemic stroke, which is the most common type of stroke affecting 87 percent of stroke patients.
On the other hand, overweight or obese women were less likely to suffer a hemorrhagic stroke, which is only seen in 13 percent of stroke cases.
Research lead Gillian Reeves added, “Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that different types of stroke have different risk profiles.”
Dr. Libman continued, “For Europeans in general, consisting mostly of whites, the risk of stroke due to blockage increases with greater obesity, while the risk of stroke due to bleeding decreases with greater obesity. [However] in Asians, the risk of both types of stroke seems to increase with obesity.”
Even though the results show that there is a reduced risk of bleeding stroke, the experts agree that any weight gain can increase the risk of stroke and other health complications, so maintaining a healthy weight is still advised for both men and women.