OBESE and overweight women have an increased risk of the most common type of stroke, but a decreased risk of a more often fatal one.
Research by Oxford University’s Cancer Epidemiology Unit found females were more likely to suffer a ischaemic stroke than a haemorrhagic stroke by being obese.
Professor Gillian Reeves said: “We found that the risk of ischaemic stroke, which is associated with a blockage of blood flow to the brain and is the most common stroke subtype, is increased in overweight and obese women.
“By contrast, the risk of haemorrhagic stroke, which is associated with bleeding into the brain, is decreased in overweight and obese women,”
“Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that different types of stroke have different risk profiles.”
For the study, 1.3 million British women with an average age of 57 were followed for 12 years, during which time 20,549 had a stroke.
Among the 344,534 women with a healthy weight, 0.7 per cent – 2,253 – had an ischaemic stroke and 0.5 per cent – 1,583 – had a haemorrhagic stroke.
Of the 228,274 obese women, one per cent 2,393 had an ischaemic stroke and 0.4 per cent – 910 – had a haemorrhagic stroke.
The team also combined their findings with those from twelve previously published studies and showed that adiposity associated risks are consistently greater for ischaemic than for haemorrhagic stroke.