Many Women Unaware of Stroke Warning Signs

stroke, risk, prevent, prevention, lower, moderate, physical activityAlthough most women know they should call 911 if they think they’re having a stroke, many of them do not know the symptoms they might be experiencing.

In a phone survey of more than 1,200 women, less than 25 percent knew that  sudden severe headaches, unexplained dizziness and sudden vision loss are all signs of a stroke. Less than half knew that difficulty speaking or garbled speech is also a warning sign. Just 51 percent knew that having sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face, arms or legs are also warning signs.

“This lack of recognition of stroke signs and symptoms could be a significant barrier to reducing death and disability related to stroke in the United States,” said Dr. Lori Mosca, principal investigator of the study, which was published in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke. “This is critically important because delays in getting care costs lives and hinders functional recovery.”

Stroke affects women more than men, according to a news release from the AHA. It is the third leading cause of death for women. “The risk is greatest among minority racial groups, including blacks and Hispanics,” the release states.

The study also found that Hispanic women were less likely to know most of the warning signs of a stroke – 25 percent did not know any. About 18 percent of white women and 19 percent of black women also could not list most of the warning signs, the release states.

To help people become informed about stroke and take action swiftly, when necessary, the association’s national campaign urges people to remember the acronym FAST.

  • Face drooping.
  • Arm weakness.
  • Speech difficulty.
  • Time to call 911.

“It’s so important to recognize a stroke and get quick treatment,” said Mosca, a professor of medicine and director of Preventive Cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York. “Public awareness campaigns such as F.A.S.T., along with education from healthcare providers, can help raise that awareness.”

+ Learn about the individualized stroke rehabilitation program at Bon Secours. Designed to help stroke patients re-enter the community during their recovery, our expert rehab team offers a comprehensive and integrated approach to stroke recovery that is based on clinical evidence.

+ People who have had a stroke are at greater risk for having another. Read about different actions you can take to prevent stroke.

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