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Stanford University School of Medicine

Study shows many women have a limited knowledge of stroke warning signs

More than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year, and about 60 percent of stroke deaths occur in women. But despite this, and the fact that stroke affects more women than men, a new survey conducted by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association shows that women are largely unfamiliar with the warning signs of stroke. Study researchers said the findings, which are based on a 2012 phone survey of 1,205 women in the United States, are a "significant barrier to reducing death and disability related to stroke."

According to a release, findings included:

  • More than half (51 percent) of the women identified sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face, arms or legs as a warning sign of a stroke.
  • Less than half (44 percent) identified difficulty speaking or garbled speech as a warning sign.

Less than a fourth identified other signs of a stroke, including:

  • sudden severe headache (23 percent);
  • unexplained dizziness (20 percent); and
  • sudden vision loss (18 percent).

The associations have developed the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people identify and respond to signs of stroke. It stands for face drooping. arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call 9-1-1.

Previously: Heart attacks and chest pain: Understanding the signs in young women, Are young adults in denial about how lifestyle choices affect their health? and Gap exists in women’s knowledge of heart disease
Photo by Nicola Jones

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