Barcelona (Spain), May 11 (EFE). – Abdominal obesity increases the risk of an ischemic stroke, especially in women, while a higher body mass index (BMI) acts as a protective factor in men, according to a study led by the Hospital do Mar , in Barcelona, Spain.
According to the research, which involved 388 patients with ischemia and 732 healthy volunteers, abdominal obesity would be a better measure to predict the risk of ischemia than BMI, especially in women. The results were published in the journal “European Journal of Neurology”.
The work was led by neurologists Mar Ana Rodríguez and Jaume Roquer, who concluded that measures of abdominal fat serve to predict the risk of suffering a stroke. Ischemic stroke occurs when a part of the brain suddenly stops receiving blood by closing one of its arteries. According to the researchers, among the risk factors are environmental, genetic and systemic interactions, such as obesity.
Roquer explained that women generally have a higher percentage of body fat, but abdominal bloating is more common in men and proposes to measure abdominal obesity rather than assessing overall body fat through BMI to predict the risk of ischemia.
“The reason is that the waist circumference better reflects the degree of adiposity than the BMI, especially in females. Statistical data show that a higher BMI prevents the risk of stroke in males, which agrees with the so-called ‘obesity paradox ‘, which relates obesity with lower mortality and recurrence of ischemia, “explained Ana Rodríguez.
The neurologist added that abdominal obesity, considered independent of BMI, is a risk factor for both sexes, although much more pronounced in women.
“The BMI is not a reliable indicator for the prognosis of the risk of ischemia, since it informs the weight, but the weight may be due to the fat – that is the one that increases the risk of having ischemia – and the lean body mass. and with too much muscle mass they can have a very high BMI and not have fat, “she said.
In this investigation, physicians calculated BMI and abdominal obesity – the latter, measuring waist circumference and waist / height ratio – of the 1,120 participants. Both the patients and the control group showed similar BMIs, although waist circumference and waist / height ratio were higher in patients with ischemia.
Until now, previous studies had clearly associated obesity with cardiovascular disease, but not with the risk of ischemic stroke.