Abstract MP45: National Women’s Knowledge of Stroke Warning Signs, Overall and by Race/Ethnic Group
Background: Early treatment is associated with better clinical outcomes in stroke, but women must recognize the warning signs of a stroke to reduce delays in treatment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate contemporary knowledge of stroke warning signs and intent to call 9-1-1 first if warning signs occur, among a nationally representative sample of women, overall and by race/ethnic group.
Methods: A study of cardiovascular disease awareness and knowledge was conducted by the American Heart Association in 2012 among English speaking US women > 25 years identified through random digit dialing (N=1,205; 54% white, 17% black, 17% Hispanic, 12% other). Demographic data, including race/ethnic group, were evaluated using standardized categorical questions. Knowledge about warning signs of stroke, and what to do first if experiencing signs of a stroke, was assessed by standardized unaided questions. Data were weighted to reflect the US population of women based on the US Census Bureau’s March 2011 Current Population Survey, overall and within ethnic strata.
Results: In 2012, half of women surveyed (51%) identified sudden weakness/numbness of face/limb on one side as a stroke warning sign; this did not vary by race/ethnic group. Loss of/trouble talking/understanding speech was identified by 44% of women, and more frequently among white versus Hispanic women (48% vs. 36%; p<.05). Fewer than one in four women identified sudden severe headache (23%), unexplained dizziness (20%), or sudden dizziness/loss of vision (18%) as warning signs, and one in five (20%) did not know one stroke warning sign; these results did not vary by race/ethnicity. The majority of women said that they would call 9-1-1 first if they thought they were experiencing signs of a stroke (84%), and this did not vary among black (86%), Hispanic (79%), or white/other (85%) women.
Conclusions: Knowledge of stroke warning signs was low among a nationally representative sample of women, especially among Hispanics. In contrast, knowledge to call 9-1-1 when experiencing signs of stroke was high. These data suggest effort to improve recognition of the warning signs of stroke has potential to reduce treatment delay and improve outcomes among women.
Author Disclosures: H. Mochari-Greenberger: None. A. Towfighi: None. L. Mosca: None.
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association, National Center.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.