Women Often Miss Signs of Stroke
TUESDAY, May 11 -- A new online survey of U.S. women finds only about one in four women aged 25 to 75 can name more than two primary symptoms of stroke.
This is important because researchers say it takes longer for women than men to seek medical care at the hospital after a stroke, and researchers think lack of awareness about symptoms may cause even worse delays.
The survey also found that women think that breast cancer is five times more common than stroke (women are actually twice as likely to die of stroke than breast cancer), and 40 percent of women surveyed weren't very concerned about experiencing a stroke.
In general, women surveyed weren't aware that women suffer more strokes than men, and one-quarter said they didn't believe stroke could happen at any age.
The researchers also found that black and Hispanic women knew fewer facts about stroke than white women in some specific areas of knowledge.
"If you experience any of the symptoms of a stroke, it is imperative to call 911 so you receive immediate medical attention, even if the symptoms go away," Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said in a news release from the HealthyWomen organization. "Time equals brain; for every minute the brain is deprived of oxygen, it may lose up to 1.9 million brain cells. If you are having even one of the symptoms of stroke, come to the emergency department so we can evaluate and treat you."
The main symptoms of stroke are:
- Sudden difficulty speaking, understanding speech, or confusion
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the limbs, particularly on one side
- Sudden facial drooping or numbness and weakness on one side of the face
- Sudden balance problems, dizziness or trouble walking
- Sudden difficulty seeing with one or both eyes
- Sudden severe headache
The online-only survey included 2,000 women in the United States, and was undertaken on behalf of HealthyWomen in conjunction with the American College of Emergency Physicians and National Stroke Association. It was funded by the Genentech, a biotech company that develops medications.
For more on preventing stroke, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Posted: May 2010
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