Men who live alone have a considerably greater long-term risk of dying prematurely than other patients, finds a study that followed 1,090 stroke cases in western Sweden.
"Among the conceivable causes are that people who live alone lead less healthy lives, are less prone to take their medication and tend to wait longer before going to the emergency room," said Petra Redfors, neurologist and researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
As part of Sahlgrenska Academy Study on Ischemic Stroke (SAHLSIS), for the healthy controls, excess mortality was also greater among men particularly those living alone, she found.
According to her findings, 36 percent of patients who were living alone, as opposed to 17 percent of those with partners, died within 12 years after stroke. Among men, the gap widened to 44 percent versus 14 percent.
Excess mortality associated with living alone was still found after adjusting for physical inactivity, high alcohol consumption, low educational level and other known risk factors.
Her doctoral thesis also found that a large percentage of stroke victims were still experiencing memory, concentration, cognitive and other loss at seven-year follow-up.
Because many of them are of working age, the personal and social impact is enormous.
"Above all, serious consideration needs to be given to providing greater support and more thorough information for patients who are living alone," the authors said.