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AHA: Women's Knowledge of Stroke Warning Signs Low

One in five women report not knowing a single warning sign of a stroke

AHA: Women's Knowledge of Stroke Warning Signs Low

MONDAY, March 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Knowledge of stroke warning signs is low among a nationally representative sample of women, particularly among Hispanics, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2014 Scientific Sessions, held from March 18 to 21 in San Francisco.

Heidi Mochari-Greenberger, from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues surveyed 1,205 U.S., English-speaking women (>25 years; 54 percent white, 17 percent black, 17 percent Hispanic, 12 percent other) in 2012 to assess cardiovascular disease awareness and knowledge of warning signs of stroke.

The researchers found that half of all women, regardless of race/ethnic group, identified sudden weakness/numbness of face/limb on one side as a stroke warning sign. Approximately 44 percent of all women identified loss of/trouble talking/understanding speech as a warning sign, although white women were significantly more likely than Hispanic women to identify this symptom. Less commonly identified warning signs included sudden severe headache (23 percent), unexplained dizziness (20 percent), or sudden dizziness/loss of vision (18 percent). Regardless of race/ethnicity, one in five women reported not knowing a single warning sign. Additionally, the majority of all women (range 79 percent to 86 percent) said they would call 911 first if they were experiencing a sign of a stroke.

"These data suggest effort to improve recognition of the warning signs of stroke has potential to reduce treatment delay and improve outcomes among women," Mochari-Greenberger and colleagues conclude.

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