A new study has found that women have a poorer quality of life after a stroke than men.
The US research, published in Neurology, assessed the mental and physical health of 1,370 patients three months and a year after a stroke.
Women had more depression and anxiety, pain and discomfort, and more restricted mobility.
The study also says more people survive a stroke now than 10 years ago because of improved treatment and prevention.
The researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, North Carolina, looked at patients who had had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke.
Quality of life is calculated using a formula that assesses mobility, self-care, everyday activities, depression/anxiety and pain.
At three months, women were more likely than men to report problems with mobility, pain and discomfort, anxiety and depression, but the difference was greatest in those aged over 75.
After a year, women still had lower quality-of-life scores overall than men but the difference between them was smaller.
Prof. Cheryl Bushnell, who led the study, said: “We found that women had a worse quality of life than men up to 12 months following a stroke.”
She said mood, ability to move about, and having pain or discomfort may contribute to the poorer quality of life for women.
Prof. Cheryl Bushnell suggested that women may have less muscle mass than men before their strokes, making it harder to recover.
She added: “As more people survive strokes, physicians and other healthcare providers should pay attention to quality-of-life issues and work to develop better interventions, even gender-specific screening tools, to improve these patients’ lives.”