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Stroke awareness low among women, especially minorities

NEW YORK, March 15 Knowledge of stroke warning signs remains low among U.S. women, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities, according to a national survey reported in a special disparities themed issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Each year about 700,000 Americans have a new or recurrent stroke and nearly 40,000 more women than men die of a stroke, according to American Heart Association/American Stroke Association statistics. "Yet only one-third of women surveyed in 2003 said that they felt very well or well informed about stroke," said Anjanette Ferris, M.D., lead author of the report and a clinical fellow in cardiovascular disease at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

African-American women are 1.5 times more likely to have a stroke and 1.3 times more likely to die of a stroke than white women. "Our study documents a knowledge gap between racial/ethnic minorities and whites regarding stroke warning signs," Ferris said. "It is paradoxical that racial and ethnic minorities at highest risk were least aware. As with heart attack, it is critical that women at risk for stroke know the warning signs because delayed treatment can lead to greater disability or death."

The American Heart Association-sponsored telephone survey included 1,024 women ages 25 and older. Among participants, 68 percent were white, 12 percent African American and 12 percent Hispanic. The remaining 8 percent were of other ethnicities.

The survey was the third conducted since 1997 to assess trends in awareness and knowledge of heart disease and stroke, the nation's first and third leading causes of death. Questions covered knowledge of stroke warning signs, risk, prevention and treatment, among other topics. Results include:

Awareness

  • Nearly one third of Hispanic women reported that they were not informed about stroke compared to 20 percent of African-American and 10 percent of white women. <
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  • Contact: Carole Bullock
    carole.bullock@heart.org
    214-706-1279
    American Heart Association
    15-Mar-2005


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