5 Stroke Warning Signs: How States Stack Up
WebMD News Archive
May 6, 2004 -- Fast treatment for stroke can save lives, but
the CDC says awareness of the five major warnings signs for a stroke is
Stroke is the third leading cause of death but knowing when to
get someone to the hospital for treatment not only helps save lives but also
helps prevent long-term disability.
In 2001, researchers performed a telephone survey of more than
61,000 people from 17 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands to test their stroke
awareness. In addition, participants were also asked what they would do first
if they thought someone was having a stroke.
The researchers evaluated the number of people who correctly
recognized all stroke warning signs and who appropriately chose to call 911 as
their first plan of attack.
Here's how the states stacked up:
The five major warning signs of a stroke are:
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or understanding
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one
side of the body
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
Overall, recognizing the five major stroke warning signs and
being aware that sudden chest pain was not a stroke sign (but a sign of a heart
attack) was low at 19.6%. In addition, fewer than 18% of people were both aware
of all the correct stroke signs and reported they would first call 911 if they
thought someone was having a stroke or a heart attack.
The report appears in the current issue of the CDC's
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
In an editorial accompanying the study, researchers note that
calling 911 immediately and getting treatment as soon as possible can reduce
disability and death from stroke. That's why one of the 2010 national health
objectives is to increase the number of people who are aware of the early
warning symptoms and signs of stroke.
The researchers say that friends, relatives, and co-workers of
people at high risk of stroke and the general public need to be aware of the
major warning signs and be willing to call 911 for emergency help.
Factors that put someone at high risk of stroke are: