Optimal stroke prevention strategies for women should take into account specific sex-related stroke risk factors. Anemia is a common medical condition in females, particularly in women of reproductive age. This study investigated whether anemia is an independent risk factor for stroke in females in a population-based cohort study. We investigated newly diagnosed anemic female patients with no history of central nervous system disease, psychiatric disorders, traumatic brain injury, major operations or hemorrhagic diseases identified from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Non-anemic matched controls (1:1) were selected based on a propensity score estimated using a logistic regression model that included demographic characteristics and comorbidities. A competing risk analysis was applied to estimate the stroke risk in anemic patients compared to that of their matched controls. In our study, the adjusted sub-distribution hazard ratios (aSHRs) of overall, hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke in anemic female patients aged <50 years were 1.35 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.19–1.52, p <0.001), 1.31 (95% CI, 1.09-1.56, p < 0.003), and 1.35 (95% CI, 1.15–1.58, p < 0.001), respectively, compared to non-anemic female controls. However, a positive association between anemia and stroke was not found for those aged ≥50 years. Similar results were observed when the follow-up age was limited to 50 years to reduce the potential effects of menopause on stroke. In conclusion, the present population-based cohort study found that anemia is a potential risk factor for overall, hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke in females of reproductive age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7440
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2 2020


  • Adjusted sub-distribution hazard ratio
  • Anemia
  • Competing risk analysis
  • Population-based cohort study
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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