and Medicine for Seniors
Living alone a deadly risk after
stroke, especially for older men
People living alone are less likely
to take medicine, wait longer to see doctor, live less healthy lives
20, 2015 A study of adults in western Sweden, who had experienced a
stroke before the age of 70, found those who live alone are the most
likely to die within 12 years but men have a considerably greater risk
of dying prematurely than women or men who live with a partner.
As part of the Sahlgrenska Academy
Study on Ischemic Stroke (SAHLSIS), Petra Redfors examined the long-term
prognosis for 1,090 victims of ischemic stroke before the age of 70 and
compared the results with 600 controls. It was presented in her doctoral
According to her findings, 36% of patients who were living alone, as
opposed to 17% of those with partners, died within 12 years after a
stroke. Among men, the gap widened to 44% when living alone vs. 14% when
living with a partner.
Excess mortality associated with
living alone was still found after adjusting for physical inactivity,
high alcohol consumption, low educational level and other known risk
Among the conceivable causes are
that people who live alone lead less healthy lives, are less prone to
take their medication and tend to wait longer before going to the
emergency room, Dr. Redfors says.
For the healthy controls, excess
mortality was also greater among men, particularly those living alone.
Cause also played a key role - having had a stroke due to large
vessel disease, a blood clot from the heart or diabetes was an
additional risk factor.
The study demonstrates that stroke
victims faced 10 times as great a risk of recurrence within 12 years as
healthy controls. The risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) was
twice as much.
The pattern of excess mortality
among people who live alone showed up here as well, Dr. Redfors says.
Among the other risk factors for
recurrence were the severity of the original event, along with diabetes
or coronary artery disease. Physical inactivity increased the risk of
cardiac infarction after stroke.
Long-term cognitive loss
The thesis also found that a large percentage of stroke victims were
still experiencing memory, concentration, cognitive and other loss at
7-year follow-up. Because many of them are of working age, the personal
and social impact is enormous.
Our results underscore the
importance of intensive, long-term prevention among stroke patients,
including medication for hypertension, diabetes and other underlying
conditions, along with lifestyle changes, Dr. Redfors says.
Above all, serious consideration
needs to be given to providing greater support and more thorough
information for patients who are living alone.
University of Gothenburg