Stroke Risks and Ignoring Them
Americans at large just don't now enough about the warning signs and risk factors for stroke -- and those at the greatest risk are the least knowledgeable, medical researchers say.
Writing in The Journal of the American Medical Association, University of Cincinnati scientists surveyed more than 1,800 people to assess current public knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors.
They found only slightly more than half of the respondents correctly identified at least one of five established warning signs for stroke, and substantially fewer people could name more than one warning sign. Those aged 75 or older, who are at the greatest risk for stroke, were the least knowledgeable.
Researchers in the study used the stroke warning signs established by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg; sudden dimness or loss of vision, particularly in one eye; sudden difficulty speaking or understanding speech; sudden severe headache with no known cause; or unexplained dizziness, unsteadiness or sudden falls.
Stroke (damage to the brain caused by inadequate blood supply) is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. The researchers say considerable education is needed to increase the public's awareness of stroke.