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How does weight affect survival after a stroke?
According to a new study, obese people are 62 percent more likely to survive a stroke compared to people of the same age with less weight. So does obesity and extra body fat increase the likelihood of survival in older people after a stroke?
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) scientists found in their current study that an increased percentage of body fat significantly increases the likelihood of survival after a stroke. The results of the study will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Philadelphia in May.
Does fat protect against premature death from disease?
In the current study, experts said for the first time that fat can protect against death from a stroke, the experts say. Previous studies had shown that overweight older people have a lower risk of death from heart and kidney disease. Now the new study shows similar effects on stroke survival. After finding that adding weight increases the chances of survival in people with kidney and heart disease, the research team wanted to investigate whether this also applies to the risk of death from a stroke. The study included more than 1,000 subjects, aged 71 on average, who had an acute ischemic stroke that blocked blood flow to part of the brain, the scientists told NBC News.
What does the BMI say about our weight?
The scientists first calculated the so-called body mass index (BMI) of the participants based on their height and weight. People are considered overweight if they have a BMI of 25 to 29 and if the BMI is over 29 there is even obesity. The average BMI for the test subjects was 27.5, the doctors report. Participants were then divided into five categories based on the BMI: underweight, normal, overweight, obese, and highly obese. The experts then monitored the patients for a period of three months after their stroke and measured their degree of disability.
How much does weight affect the chance of survival after a stroke?
Doctors found that people who were very obese were 62 percent less likely to die from a stroke than people of normal weight. It also showed that obese people had a 46 percent lower risk of premature death. The risk was still 15 percent lower for people who were overweight compared to people with normal weight. If people were underweight, this also affected the likelihood of dying after a stroke. Those affected had a 67 percent higher risk of death compared to people of normal weight.
More research is needed
The results were calculated after the researchers had already considered other factors that could affect survival rates, such as: For example, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or smoking. Of the 95 people who were very obese, eleven died during the study. 19 of the 192 obese subjects died, 58 of the 395 overweight participants died, 55 of the 327 normal weight people died and six of the 24 underweight subjects died. But the question still arises: why does more weight protect against death from a stroke? One possible explanation is that people who are overweight or obese have a nutritional reserve that can help them survive longer illnesses, the authors say. Further research is needed to further examine the relationship between body mass index and stroke. (as)