The association between obesity and coronary heart disease has received a great deal of attention in the media recently. Now there is another reason to lose weight. An analysis of data compiled in the Women's Health Study showed an increased risk of ischemic stroke in women with a body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m2. The study included 39,053 women who were followed for a mean of 10 years. A total of 432 strokes (347 ischemic, 81 hemorrhagic, and 4 undefined) occurred in the group. Presence of hypertension, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol also contributed to elevated risk in obese women. Smoking, use of alcohol, and exercise appeared to have no effect. The results of this study further demonstrate the importance of weight control and management of comorbidities that may be associated with obesity.
Dr. Garrett is a clinical pharmacist practitioner at Cornerstone Health Care in High Point, NC.