In Dire Need of a Stroke of Awareness

Stroke awareness dangerously low among women

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) We've all heard about the warning signs when it comes to strokes: numbness or loss of strength, loss of balance and difficulty speaking, vision problems and unusual headaches. But recent research shows they can be difficult for some to recall. Women were found to have an alarming lack of awareness about the signs of stroke according to a Canadian study.

The ability to recognize the warning signs of stroke is dangerously low among all women, especially from two of Canada's most visible minorities including women of Chinese and South Asian decent. The Heart and Stroke Foundation 2011 Stroke Month Report also discovered that women are not aware that stroke and heart disease is their leading cause of death.

"Know the warning signs of a stroke."

Of those polled, only a third of all women could correctly identify at least three of the five signs of stroke, and 62 percent were able to identify two symptoms. Only 53 percent of South Asian women could identify two symptoms. And most alarming, 23 percent of all women could not name one sign of stroke.

More than half of all Canadian women could not identify stroke or heart disease as their leading cause of death, responsible for one in three deaths. When it came to women of Chinese or South Asian decent, 84 percent were unable to identify the leading cause of death.

The risk of stroke and heart disease is highest for Chinese women, and considered "intermediate" for South Asian women.

Despite the dire numbers, awareness is improving. Only three years ago 68 percent of women did not know heart disease and strokes were the leading cause of death. During the recent study 53 percent were not aware of that fact.

More than 80 percent of strokes are preventable if the signs are identified and treatment sought. More than 50,000 strokes occur each year in Canada, one every 10 minutes. Canadian women die as a result of a stroke 32 percent more often than men.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 1, 2011
Last Updated:
June 4, 2011