Men experiencing a stroke call for emergency help quicker than women, especially if they are married, according to a Mayo Clinic study presented at the 2012 International Stroke Conference, New Orleans, USA.
“Marriage has long been shown to offer health benefits and often more for men,” said Joyce Lee-Iannotti, neurology fellow, Mayo Clinic, Arizona, USA, and author of the study. “The reasons are unclear, but it has been postulated that it can be societal roles, where women take on the roles of caregivers and advise their spouses to seek care, often putting their own health behind that of their children and husband.”
The study was a retrospective review of 209 patients with acute stroke symptoms brought by emergency medical services to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix over 15 months ending in November 2011. Researchers collected participants’ age, gender, marital status, time of symptom awareness and time of emergency medical services dispatch. They compared the time from symptoms awareness to emergency medical services dispatch between married and single participants and between men and women.
Married men called within 28 minutes of symptoms compared to married women, who called an average of 67 minutes after their first stroke symptoms. Single men activated emergency medical services earlier than single women, but the difference was not significant.
The average age of the patients was 76 years; half were women, half were men. Approximately half were married and about half were single. The researchers found that, overall, the group of married patients called for emergency services more quickly than their single counterparts, but the difference was not significant.
The researchers plan a future study of the reasons why married men with stroke symptoms seek medical attention earlier.