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General public fails to recognise early signs of stroke

The general public does not find it easy to recognise the early symptoms of stroke because they vary so much, and this often results in delay in seeking medical attention, finds a study in this weeks BMJ.

Thirty-five people took part in discussion groups and answered questionnaires about stroke: 11 from the general public, 14 people who had had a stroke, and 10 carers or partners.

Participants reported that recognising symptoms was not easy. Many patients who had had a stroke did not initially take their symptoms seriously because the symptoms were not the same as those they had read about.

They felt that none of the available written information about stroke successfully conveyed the importance of early presentation to hospital for anyone experiencing warning signs or symptoms. They stressed the need for simple, understandable information about stroke.

For maximum effect, treatment of acute stroke with anti-clotting drugs must be given within an early limited time, say the authors. Unless people know they are or might be having a stroke that opportunity will be missed, they conclude.


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Contact: Emma Wilkinson
ewilkinson@bmj.com
44-207-383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
2-May-2002


Page: 1

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