HEALTHY LIVING

Would You Know If You Were Having A Stroke?

03/19/2014 05:57 pm ET
Blake Little via Getty Images

Many women would not be able to identify the signs of a stroke, a new study suggests.

The study included phone survey results from 1,205 women in the U.S. from 2012, and revealed that just 51 percent of women know that sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face, arms or legs is considered a sign of a stroke. And even a smaller percentage of women knew other common signs of stroke, including speech problems and vision loss.

"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," study researcher Dr. Lori Mosca, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., professor of medicine and director of Preventive Cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, said in a statement. "This is critically important because delays in getting care costs lives and hinders functional recovery."

The study, published in the journal Stroke and presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association, also showed that just 44 percent of women identified garbled speech or difficulty speaking as a sign of a stroke. Twenty-three percent knew that sudden severe headache was a stroke sign, 20 percent knew unexplained dizziness was a sign, and 18 percent knew sudden vision loss was a sign.

The differences in knowledge were also different between racial groups, with 25 percent of Hispanic women not knowing any signs of stroke. Meanwhile, 19 percent of black women did not know any signs of stroke and 18 percent of white women did not know any sign of stroke.

However, 84 percent of all the women in the survey said they knew that they should call 9-1-1 if they thought they were experiencing a stroke.

Recently, a case study published in the journal Archives of Neurology highlighted how a woman's odd text messages to her husband were one of the first signals to medical experts that she had experienced a stroke.

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