National Women’s Knowledge of Stroke Warning Signs, Overall and by Race/Ethnic Group
Background and Purpose—Recognition of stroke warning signs may reduce treatment delays. The purpose of this study was to evaluate contemporary knowledge of stroke warning signs and knowledge to call 9-1-1, among a nationally representative sample of women, overall and by race/ethnic group.
Methods—A study of cardiovascular disease awareness was conducted by the American Heart Association in 2012 among English-speaking US women ≥25 years identified through random-digit dialing (n=1205; 54% white, 17% black, 17% Hispanic, and 12% other). Knowledge of stroke warning signs, and what to do first if experiencing stroke warning signs, was assessed by standardized open-ended questions.
Results—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, more frequently among white versus Hispanic women (48% versus 36%; P<0.05). Fewer than 1 in 4 women identified sudden severe headache (23%), unexplained dizziness (20%), or sudden dimness/loss of vision (18%) as warning signs, and 1 in 5 (20%) did not know 1 stroke warning sign. 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.
- Received November 25, 2013.
- Revision received November 25, 2013.
- Accepted December 17, 2013.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.