Most Women Can’t Identify Stroke Warning Signs

According to a recent study published by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, U.S. women are generally unaware of the warning signs associated with having a stroke. Men were not included in the study.

In a survey of over 1,200 American women, only 44% identified difficulty speaking or slurred speech as a warning sign. Less than 25% of the women knew any of the other common warning signs, such as a sudden sever headache, unexplained dizziness and sudden vision loss.

The only warning sign that was identified by over half of the women (51%) was sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face, legs or arms. Nearly 25% of latino women knew none of the warning signs, compared to 19% for blacks and 18% for whites. While most women did know know the warning signs, nearly 85% knew that calling 911 was important if they thought they were experiencing a stroke.

“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 Lori Mosca, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., principal investigator of the study. “This is critically important because delays in getting care costs lives and hinders functional recovery.”

What You Should Know

Among women in the United States, stroke is the third leading cause of death and one of the most common causes of long-term disability. It is more prevalent in women than men, and it most commonly occurs in racial minority groups such as black and latinos.

The American Stroke Association recently launched a national campaign to help improve stroke awareness, urging people to identify and react to stroke with the F.A.S.T. acronym.

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

Please contact your healthcare provider with any questions about stroke awareness.


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