Excess Weight Helps Survive Stroke

According to a new study by scientists from the University of California, overweight people are 62% more likely to suffer from a stroke than more slender people. However, contrary to expectations, having some extra fat can actually increase the chances of survival for older patients with stroke. Experts call this the “obesity paradox.”To arrive at such conclusions, the specialists studied 1000 people with an average age of 71 years who had acute ischemic stroke, in which the blood flow to parts of the brain was blocked. Scientists have calculated the body mass index (BMI) of people based on their height and weight. Patients were overweight if their BMI ranged from 25 to 29, and obesity if their BMI was above 29. The average BMI for participants was 27.5. Participants were divided into five categories based on BMI – underweight, normal weight, overweight, obesity and severe obesity.

Researchers monitored patients for three months after a stroke, assessing the level of disability. Doctors found that people with severe obesity were 62% less likely to die after a stroke than people with normal weight. The results also showed that people with obesity were 46% less likely to have a recurrent stroke, while those who were overweight were 15% less likely to have a recurrent stroke than people with normal BMI. At the same time, people with low weight were 67% more likely to die after a stroke than people with normal weight. These results were announced after taking into account other factors that may affect survival rates, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.

According to experts, one of the possible explanations of the observed phenomenon is that people with overweight and obesity may have a supply of nutrients that contributes to survival during a long illness. Earlier it was also noted that the presence of excess weight can play an important role in the survival of people who suffer from diseases of the kidneys and heart. Scientists note that more research is needed to study the relationship between body mass index and stroke.



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