Consequences of stroke in community-dwelling elderly: The health and retirement study, 1998 to 2008

Afshin A. Divani, Shahram Majidi, Anna M. Barrett, Siamak Noorbaloochi, Andreas R. Luft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose- Stroke survivors are at risk of developing comorbidities that further reduce their quality of life. The purpose of this study was to determine the risk of developing a secondary health problem after stroke. Methods- We performed a case-control analysis using 6 biennial interview waves (1998 to 2008) of the Health and Retirement Study. We compared 631 noninstitutionalized individuals who had a single stroke with 631 control subjects matched for age, gender, and interview wave. We studied sleep problems, urinary incontinence, motor impairment, falls, and memory deficits among the 2 groups. Results- Stroke survivors frequently developed new or worsened motor impairment (33%), sleep problems (up to 33%), falls (30%), urinary incontinence (19%), and memory deficits (9%). As compared with control subjects, the risk of developing a secondary health problem was highest for memory deficits (OR, 2.45; 95% CI, 1.34 to 4.46) followed by urinary incontinence (OR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.31 to 2.66), motor impairment (OR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.16 to 2.24), falls (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.12 to 2.0), and sleep disturbances (OR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.09 to 2.03). In contrast, stroke survivors were not more likely to injure themselves during a fall (OR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.72 to 1.79). After adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, social status, psychiatric symptoms, and pain, the risks of falling or developing sleep problems were not different from the control subjects. Conclusions- The risk of developing a secondary health problem that can impact daily life is markedly increased after stroke. A better understanding of frequencies and risks for secondary health problems after stroke is necessary for designing better preventive and rehabilitation strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1821-1825
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • fall-related injuries
  • falling
  • memory deficit
  • motor impairment
  • risk factors
  • sleep problems
  • stroke
  • urinary incontinence


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