Researchers from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., mailed a written survey to 1,086 randomly selected people in Olmsted County, Minn., and received 364 completed surveys. The survey assessed knowledge of overall definition of stroke, stroke risk factors, symptoms, treatment, and potential for prevention, along with prior medical history, attitudes towards health care, and other factors. Less than half of respondents could correctly define a stroke. While nearly all survey respondents recognized paralysis as a symptom of stroke, several other symptoms, such as the inability to articulate thoughts into words, visual loss, and numbness or tingling were far less commonly recognized.
We were surprised to find virtually no difference in knowledge of symptoms or treatment between those with stroke risk factors and those without, said study author Kelly Flemming, M.D. Nearly two-thirds of respondents did not know about treatment options, or about the urgency of administering therapy, and less than half would call 911 if they thought they were having a stroke. Many respondents recorded that they did not think there was any treatment for stroke.
According to study co-author Robert D. Brown, Jr., MD, MPH, the study results suggest a lack of knowledge about many of the key issues regarding stroke, and those at highest risk have some of the lowest levels of understanding. Dr. Brown said, All health care providers can take this information to heart and improve our stroke education programs in the community. This includes stroke
Contact: Cheryl Alementi
American Academy of Neurology