Endogenous sex steroids and ischemic stroke risk in older women

Author: Bushnell, Cheryl D

Source: Aging Health, 1 April 2007, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 201-207(7)


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Stroke is the third leading cause of death in women, and more women than men die from stroke. Although the risk of stroke increases with age, the risk is substantially increased in women following menopause. This may occur, in part, as a result of an increased likelihood of developing hypertension, glucose intolerance, hyperlipidemia and subclinical atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries during and after menopause. This change in risk profile may be related to the estradiol depletion and relative androgen excess that occur during the menopausal transition. The most useful measure of sex steroid levels is with sex hormone-binding globulin, a hormone that reflects bound estrogens and androgens. Low levels of sex hormone-binding globulin are closely associated with unfavorable cardiovascular profiles and an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Whether sex hormone-binding globulin is also a marker of ischemic stroke risk requires further study.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; carotid atherosclerosis; diabetes; estradiol; free androgen index; menopause; metabolic syndrome; obesity; sex hormone-binding globulin; stroke; women

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/1745509X.3.2.201

Affiliations: Duke University, Box 2900 Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA., Email: Cheryl.Bushnell@duke.edu

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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