Study: Most women can't identify stroke symptoms



While it's crucial for Lipitor users to recognize when someone or themselves are displaying signs of a stroke, researchers are discovering that most women are not able to identify such symptoms.

While it's crucial for Lipitor users to recognize when someone or themselves are displaying signs of a stroke, researchers are discovering that most women are not able to identify such symptoms. Considering that 1 out of every 19 deaths in America every year is attributed to strokes, the fact that only 1 in 5 U.S. women are familiar with warning indications of a potential attack is alarming, and further awareness is needed to help prevent future accidents.

Researchers from Columbia University conducted a phone survey involving 1,205 women to test their knowledge of understanding stroke symptoms. All of the participants involved were English-speaking American women who were at least 25 years of age or older and came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Of the results, 51 percent were able to acknowledge that sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the face, legs or arms was a warning sign of an attack. Less than one-half of the women were able to recognize difficulty speaking as an indicator, and less than one-fourth of the participants could pinpoint other main side effects, including abrupt severe headaches, loss of vision and unexplained dizziness.

Stroke is extremely prevalent in women, being the third-leading cause of death for females living in the United States. While most were uneducated about correctly identifying common symptoms, 84 percent of the subjects interviewed understood the importance of dialing 9-1-1 if they might be suffering from a stroke.

Dr. Lori Mosca, a professor at Columbia University Medical Center and co-author of the study, was alarmed by the lack of stroke awareness. She also recommended everyone to associate with an acronym presented by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association to help easily remember stroke indicators.

"This lack of recognition of stroke signs and symptoms could be a significant barrier to reducing death and disability related to stroke in the United States," Mosca said in a statement. "This is critically important because delays in getting care costs lives and hinders functional recovery. Public awareness campaigns such as F.A.S.T., along with education from healthcare providers, can help raise that awareness."

Being aware of a possible attack
The American Stroke Association's ad campaign of learning F.A.S.T. is simple and effective. The letters stand for:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 9-1-1

Every year, it's estimated that 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. Asking your doctor about a Lipitor prescription is a great first step in stroke prevention, but awareness is the main key to avert an emergency.