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Int J Stroke. 2017 Oct;12(8):851-857. doi: 10.1177/1747493016677987. Epub 2016 Nov 2.

The risk of stroke in spouses of people living with dementia in Korea.

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1 Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Health Professions, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA.
2 School of Occupational Therapy, Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX, USA.
3 Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA.
4 Department of Healthcare Leadership & Management, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.


Background and purpose As the Korean population ages, the number of patients with dementia is expected to increase. Although prior studies have reported that the burdens associated with caregiving impact the health of spouses of individuals with dementia, it is unclear whether those spouses have increased risk of stroke. We examined the relationship between the risks of stroke among spouses of people with dementia (SPD). Methods We retrieved a total of 314,526 respondents from the population-based surveys of the 2012 and 2013 Korea Community Health Survey. We used unmatched and matched samples (1:1 Greedy matching) to examine the risk of stroke for SPD using logistic regression models. Results A total of 3868 spouses (1.2% of the Korean population) lived with a patient with dementia in 2012 and 2013. After we matched samples of those who live with a patient with dementia and those who do not, all baseline demographics were balanced ( pā€‰>ā€‰0.05), including sex, age, income, education, insurance, smoking, drinking, stress level. The spouses who lived with a patient with dementia had a higher risk of stroke than those who lived with non-dementia spouse in both the unmatched (adjusted odds ratios (AOR), 1.70; 95%CI, 1.47-1.96) and matched samples (AOR, 1.69; 95%CI, 1.35-2.10) after controlling for stroke risk factors, including demographics and nine chronic conditions. Conclusions Living with a patient with dementia is associated with a 69% increased odds of stroke in the matched sample. Spouses of individuals with dementia should be closely monitored and educated for risk factors of stroke.


Spouse caregivers; dementia; risk factors; stroke

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